Vaccitech, the company that owns the technology behind the Oxford / AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, raised $ 111 million when it went public on Thursday, close to its initial hopes and showing investors were ready to move beyond recent concerns about the rare side effects of jab.
The company priced its shares at $ 17 each before it was listed on the Nasdaq, at the midpoint of its expected price range. At the offer price, Vaccitech would be valued at $ 579 million, or 36% above the price set by its last private fundraiser in March.
Vaccitech was co-founded by Oxford University scientists Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill in 2016 and has been backed by private investors such as Tencent, Google Ventures and California biotech Gilead Sciences.
The company owns the technology used to create the AstraZeneca vaccine and will receive 1.4% of the net revenue if the vaccine is sold for profit after the pandemic. He is also working on another Covid-19 vaccine that could be used as a booster for people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The rapid scale-up of the AstraZeneca vaccine has helped prove the company’s adenovirus-based platform and has generated data on its use in millions of people. Vaccitech is developing the technology for other vaccines, for diseases like the Seas coronavirus and shingles.
Vaccitech is also working to create drugs for diseases such as human papillomavirus, chronic hepatitis, and prostate cancer.
Shares of listed vaccine makers have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Novavax has grown by over 1,300%, while Moderna and BioNTech have both grown by around 380% in the past 12 months.
This has attracted several companies linked to Covid-19 vaccine development to exploit public markets. CureVac shares rose 249 percent on the first day of trading in August. Valneva, a French publicly listed vaccine maker, also recently filed for an IPO in the United States.
However, some investors have been cautious about the high valuations of the biotech sector. The Nasdaq Biotech Index is down more than 10% from its February high, after gaining more than 25% in 2020. Short sellers have also flocked to the industry, with Novavax and Moderna among the top 10 companies. short-circuited biotechnology companies, according to data from S3.
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Vaccitech goes public after a period of scrutiny of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, culminating in concerns about a very rare side effect of blood clotting. The company warned in its IPO prospectus that this could affect royalties and affect the reputation of its products.
Susannah Streeter, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the speed of vaccine innovation has been “breathtaking” and that Vaccitech is one of the leading companies.
“The crisis has shown that Vaccitech can effectively scale a successful project to speed, which is quite unusual for a biotech startup, which often goes into a stock market without such a proven track record,” said she declared.
Morgan Stanley, Jefferies, Barclays and William Blair led the offer.