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Pillsbury Winthrop lawyers just completed what they describe as the first Japanese IPO by an American company that was not dual-listed in the United States. The San Diego, Calif.,-based biotech MediciNova Inc. raised $107.7 million on the Osaka Securities Exchange’s Hercules Market earlier this month. The opening price of 405 yen was slightly higher than the expected price of 400 yen. San Diego partner David Snyder incorporated MediciNova after it was founded in September 2000 as a research subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd. Snyder, who is vice chair of Pillsbury, had done work with Tanabe and its American research arm, Tanabe Research Laboratories, for more than 20 years. MediciNova is working on treatments for a wide range of complaints, including premature labor, anxiety, solid tumors, interstitial cystitis and asthma, multiple sclerosis and urinary incontinence. The Pillsbury lawyers say going public in Japan made sense only in part because of the firm’s Japanese connections. “In the recent past, the Japanese markets had been receptive to similarly situated biotech companies,”says Babak “Bo” Yaghmaie, a partner in the New York office. “We raised a good amount of cash at very good valuations.” Snyder predicted more biotech and high-tech companies will be going public in Japan this year. In fact, Lior Nuchi, a partner in Pillsbury’s Palo Alto office, is working on taking a different U.S. company public in Japan. MediciNova has an effective registration statement in the United States, says Snyder, but the company didn’t market the offering here. The deal also required the expertise of Pillsbury’s lawyers in Japan and Silicon Valley. Partner C. Brian Wainwright, a Palo Alto, Calif., tax lawyer at the firm for more than 30 years, worked on the deal. “My role was to explain to prospective non-U.S. investors, principally Japanese, how they and the return from their investment would be impacted by U.S. tax laws,”said Wainwright. Palo Alto partner Cindy Schlaefer handled employee benefits issues. San Diego corporate associates James Basta and Jennifer Jett were also on the team. Underwriter Daiwa Securities was represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

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