July 6, 2018 / 6:33 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-ObsEva plans Swiss listing; trading debut on July 13

(Adds detail, background)

ZURICH, July 6 (Reuters) - ObsEva, a Switzerland-based drug development company, said on Friday it plans a secondary listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich and trading debut on July 13, as the firm seeks to gain more visibility among European investors.

Geneva-based ObsEva, founded by gynaecologist and former Serono drug developer Ernest Loumaye, started trading on the Nasdaq in 2017 and has a market capitalisation of about $658 million.

Since falling below $6 per share in June 2017, its stock has more than doubled in value and traded at $15.13 on Thursday.

ObsEva, which will trade under the ticker symbol "OBSN.S", will not issue any new shares in connection with the Swiss listing.

With the new listing, ObsEva is seeking to raise its profile with Swiss and European investors and increase finance options.

Swiss rules that govern potential takeovers will secure more protection for its shareholders, the drug development company said.

The company has three drug candidates for women's reproductive health that are under trial: a prospective medicine licensed from Japan's Kissei Pharmaceutical to treat endometriosis; a drug to prevent potentially dangerous pre-term labour; and a third drug, licensed from Merck-Serono, aimed at boosting success of in-vitro fertilisation.

"The innovative solutions we are developing can potentially help resolve some of the obstacles by offering orally active medications with fast onset therapeutic effect and fewer side effects," Loumaye said.

After working at Serono's reproductive health division, Loumaye founded another Swiss start-up, PregLam, before selling it to Hungarian drugmaker Gedeon Richter Plc in 2010. He started ObsEva operations in 2012.

Millions of women worldwide are affected by serious conditions compromising their reproductive health and pregnancy, Loumaye said in a statement.

"As a Swiss company, we are honoured to be listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and to take another important step toward achieving our goals," Loumaye added.

There are about two dozen companies with secondary listings on the SIX Swiss Exchange, according to Swiss bourse records, though most are large, internationally recognised companies including Goodyear, Caterpillar, Volkswagen and General Electric. (Reporting by John Revill and John Miller, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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