Vaccitech – the start-up behind AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine – shoots for IPO this week

Covid-19 Vaccine

As Vaccitech prepares to hit the market this week, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Research at Freedom Finance Europe, explains why the biotech’s IPO listing should be on your radar.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs ) are the lifeblood of the biotech sector, providing firms with the necessary funds needed to push their drugs through clinical development. Therefore it’s no surprise that the surge of retail investors investing in shares and IPO’s has led to a record number of biotech firms listing on the market in 2021. The latest in this long list is vaccine and cancer biotech company, Vaccitech.

Vaccitech, which co-invented the COVID-19 vaccine – developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University, is set to go ahead with its IPO on April 29th.

There has been a monumental amount of IPO cash flowing into the biotech industry over the last 12 months and this momentum will not be slowing down anytime soon. Following it’s breakthrough with AstraZeneca, Vaccitech now has the reputation and status to become an industry leader in competitive the biotech sector.

Historically, Vaccitech has been a big hit among fundraisers and has raised $216 million (£155 million) to date from the likes of Gilead Sciences, Sequoia Capital China and Oxford Sciences Innovation but the British based business is aiming to raise as much as $117 million (£84 million) on April 29th, pricing its shares between $16 – $18. If all goes to plan, Vaccitech could be valued at $613 million (£441 million).

The company intends to use proceeds from the offering to fund its ongoing clinical programs and its early-stage research and development. Past projects include developing a platform that mimics viral infection in human cells to stimulate the body’s immune system, so it can fight foreign pathogens and cancer, as well as developing programs for conditions like hepatitis B and prostate cancer.

While all eyes should be on the IPO, it’s also worth noting that Vaccitech’s preference for a U.S listing is a blow for London’s attempts to become a major financial hub following Brexit and it will be interesting to see if other organisations choose to stick with the US.