The scientist who led the development of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the University of Oxford is reportedly to be raised in excess of £ 20 million thanks to its listing on the stock exchange.
Professor Sarah Gilbert owns just over 5% of Vaccitech, which she founded in 2016.
According to the Financial Times, the biotech startup has privately applied for an initial public offering in the United States – an offering that could have earned it £ 22m in a final round of funding valued at £ 425m.
Vaccitech owns the technology behind COVID-19 jab, which a pharmaceutical firm sells on a non-profit basis during the pandemic, and other medicines and products.
The company reportedly plans to be listed on the Nasdaq in a few weeks, as US equity markets hit record levels amid expectations for a vaccine-driven economic recovery.
The Oxford-Astra prick, although hailed as a top-notch product, ran into bumps in the road due to concerns about a possible link to blood clots in a small number of recipients.
Vaccitech’s shareholders include Professor Gilbert’s Oxford colleague, Professor Adrian Hill, another co-founder who also owns 5.2%.
GV, the venture capital fund of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has a 12% stake.
The FT said the UK government also owns the stake, although no interest has been listed in the details filed with Companies House.
Sky News contacted Treasury for comment.
Vaccitech hasn’t commented yet.
Any listing on the Nasdaq would mean neglecting the Chancellor’s efforts to make London more attractive to such listings.
Last month, another UK company Cazoo decided to merge with the so-called American special purpose acquisition company – SPAC – with the support of billionaire investor Dan Och.
Neil Wilson, Principal Market Analyst at Markets.com, told Sky News: “This is a small blow to London’s ambition to become a hub for new listings in areas such as life sciences and technology.
“This is a small amount – I think it costs about $ 450 million – but nevertheless, it is a blow to London’s efforts to attract companies that, in my opinion, will become Internet giants in the coming decades.
“Coming from the back Deliveroo flop, there is a lot of focus on the London market and the ability to handle large swings in the broader technical arena.
“The good news is that Oxford Nanopore has selected London for its much larger listing, which is a significant vote of confidence. The Nasdaq has always been the go-to choice for biotech, so this is a really big win. “