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SK Bioscience begins listing process; enterprise value near $3 bn

Dec 03, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits SK Bioscience to learn about COVID-19 vaccine development
South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits SK Bioscience to learn about COVID-19 vaccine development


South Korea’s SK Bioscience Co., set to enter clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, is expected to list on the Seoul main bourse as early as the first half of next year, following affiliate SK Biopharmaceuticals Co.'s successful trading debut in July.

SK Bioscience recently filed for a preliminary screening according to the Korea Exchange on Dec. 2, which is likely to be next year's IPO blockbuster, with an estimated enterprise value of 3 trillion won ($2.7 billion). 

SK Bioscience was founded in 2018 as a spin-off of SK Chemicals Co.'s vaccine division. The company makes a cell culture-derived influenza vaccine, a shingles vaccine, a chickenpox vaccine and hemophilia treatment medicine.

SK Chemicals is SK Bioscience's largest shareholder with a 98% stake.

SK Bioscience begins listing process; enterprise value near  bn


In 2018, SK Bioscience joined forces with Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of global pharma giant Sanofi, to co-develop a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, currently in phase 2 clinical trials. Further, alongside the International Vaccine Institute, the company is jointly developing a typhoid conjugate vaccine, which has entered phase 3 clinical trials.

Earlier in August, the company secured a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) order for a new coronavirus vaccine candidate under development by the US-based Novavax Inc. In November, SK Bioscience received approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to start phase 1 clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate NBP2001 this month. 

In addition, the company is aiming to begin clinical trials this year for GBP510, a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that has received $3.6 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Given the company's promising activities, the securities industry predicts SK Bioscience to be valued in the 3 trillion won range at least. Some expect it to hit another home run, following SK Biopharmaceuticals, which pulled in a whopping 31 trillion won in deposits during the subscription process.

SK Biopharmaceuticals’ initial offering price was 49,000 won but shares were trading at 176,000 won as of Dec. 3. The company, which was valued at around 3 trillion won prior to the IPO, now boasts a market cap of 13.8 trillion won.

In 2019, SK Bioscience posted 183.9 billion won in revenue and 22.8 billion won in operating profit. In the first three quarters of this year,  the company has posted a combined 158.6 billion won in revenue and operating profit of 26.8 billion won.

Industry watchers say the company’s enterprise value and revenue may  surge further, depending on the development of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The company has picked NH Investment & Securities Co. as its IPO lead manager and Korea Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. as a joint bookrunner.

Write to Jong-woo Kim at jongwoo@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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