LONDON—The biotech startup behind the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford plans as soon as this week to file publicly to sell shares in the U.S., according to people close to the company.
The Oxford startup, Vaccitech Ltd., has been aiming for a listed valuation of around $700 million, with backers estimating it could be a $1 billion company by year-end, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. The company recently raised $168 million in new funding in a big step toward a public share offering. That financing valued Vaccitech at roughly five times its pre-pandemic value of around $86 million, the Journal reported, citing people close to the company.
Vaccitech is among a handful of once-obscure biotechs that have found opportunity in the pandemic. Its co-founders are Oxford scientists who led the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. The university supported the company when it spun out in 2016, and some Oxford backers hoped Vaccitech would list shares in London, but Vaccitech executives insisted on Nasdaq in New York, the Journal previously reported.
Vaccitech confidentially filed paperwork last year as groundwork for a listing. The Financial Times earlier on Wednesday reported the confidential listing. A number of investors in the recent fundraising are expected to participate in the offering, according to people familiar with the plans and marketing documents viewed by the Journal.
Backers see the planned listing as potentially leading to one of the biggest market debuts of an Oxford spinoff in years. But investors have had concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine’s rocky rollout, the Journal has reported. Those concerns have continued with questions about serious blood clots among a small number of people who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. European and U.K. regulators are investigating the rare but potentially deadly clotting issues for any link to the shot. People close to Vaccitech say perceptions of the vaccine were also tarnished by confusion over U.S. clinical-trial results last month.
Source : https://www.wsj.com/articles/startup-behind-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-plans-to-file-publicly-for-u-s-ipo-within-days-11617806694