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South Korean pharmas aim for Nasdaq

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CoImmune, a joint venture between SCM LifeScience and Genexine, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite. THE KOREA HERALD

South Korean pharmas aim for Nasdaq

South Korea’s pharmaceutical and biopharma companies are ramping up efforts to get listed on the Nasdaq market, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Korean e-commerce giant Coupang with their US market debut.

According to industry sources on April 1, CoImmune, a joint venture between SCM LifeScience and Genexine, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite.

CoImmune’s appointment of biotechnology and finance expert Dr Edgardo Baracchini to the company’s board of directors in February was a move to speed up its IPO process, the sources added.

Founded in 2019, CoImmune is a biopharmaceutical company that develops personalised immunotherapies for cancer treatments. The company also has a cGMP manufacturing facility, those capable of supporting clinical studies from phase one through phase three.

GC LabCell, a manufacturer of cell therapy products in South Korea, is also pushing ahead with its US-based affiliate Artiva Biotherapeutics’ IPO.

Active discussions revolving around the Artiva Biotherapeutics IPO began in January when GC Lab Cell and its affiliate pulled off an exclusive collaboration and licence deal with Merck, or MSD, to transfer CAR-NK cell therapy technology in treating solid cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer.

Other reports suggested that bio-similar start-up company Aprogen has also been in discussions with Nomura Securities to look at options of entering the US stock market.

Aprogen is a venture enterprise founded in 2000 that has developed technologies in antibody engineering and recombinant protein engineering.

Other Korean companies that are considering IPOs in the US include Dong-A ST, Yuhan, Rokit Healthcare and L&K Biomed.

The industry sources said that local biohealth companies are hoping to get listed on the Nasdaq market to make inroads into the world’s largest drug market and to ramp up its market capitalisation.

An analyst at Samsung Securities said: “If listed on the Nasdaq market, local pharmaceutical companies could get an upper hand when entering the US market, and they could potentially gain a broader base of financing to pursue growth in the future.”

The US pharmaceutical market is currently valued at around 571 trillion won ($505 billion), accounting for some 40 per cent of the global market’s 1.418 quadrillion won.



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