Vaccine developer SK Bioscience raises W1.5trn from KRX IPO

2 min read
Emerging Markets, Asia
Candy Chan

SK Bioscience, a South Korean pharmaceutical company working on the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, has raised W1.49trn (US$1.3bn) from a KRX IPO priced at W65,000 a share.

The IPO of 23m shares (67% primary/33% secondary), or 30% of the enlarged share capital, was priced at the top of an indicative price range of W49,000–W65,000 for a market capitalisation of W4.97trn.

The book was more than 1,200 times covered, according to a person close to the deal. Some 1,400 investors participated in the deal, with about 20% of the orders coming from long-only funds and the rest from hedge funds. Allocations skewed towards long-only funds.

About 60% of the investors have accepted a voluntary lock-up of 15 days to six months.

Institutional investors were allocated about 55% of the deal and retail 25%, with the remainder to go to an employee stock ownership plan.

The shares are expected to be listed on March 18.

SK Bioscience, which was spun off from KRX-listed SK Chemicals in July 2018, received US$3.6m of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last May to help accelerate the development of its own Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Bill Gates said in a letter last July to South Korea President Moon Jae-in that the company may be capable of producing 200 million coronavirus vaccine kits by June 2021.

The company has contracts to produce a Covid-19 vaccine for AstraZeneca which has already been approved for use in several countries, and one for Novavax which is at the late-stage clinical phase. It also collaborates with GlaxoSmithKline to run clinical trials on the vaccines and is self-developing its own vaccine candidate at Seoul National University Hospital.

Its other products include self-developed flu, shingles and chickenpox vaccines.

The company is 98%-owned by SK Chemicals, which in turn is 33.5%-held by SK Discovery.

NH Investment & Securities was the lead manager and Korea Investment & Securities and Mirae Asset Daewoo were co-managers.

Updated story: adds bookbuilding colour