Korean Biotech Star SillaJen Wins De-Listing Reprieve


A Korean biotechnology darling of local individual investors has avoided being de-listed for at least a year, following protests from a large group of its roughly 170,000 retail investors.

SillaJen Inc., which developed liver cancer drug Pexa-vec, will be given a year to improve its business, according to an announcement from the Korea Exchange. The bourse convened a meeting on Monday on whether to de-list the stock after the firm’s chief executive officer and two executives were indicted with embezzlement.

Korean Biotech Star SillaJen Wins De-Listing Reprieve

The stock, once the second-biggest by market value on the tech-heavy Kosdaq index, was added to the bourse’s de-listing review list in May. The de-listing of unprofitable tech firms favored by retail investors has become a contentious issue in the country with individual investors are winning clout. In July, a group of retail investors held a rally in front of the exchange and published a statement in local newspapers, demanding that the bourse resume trading in SillaJen.

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The company will have to submit a report on how it has improved its business within seven days from Nov. 30, 2021. Trading, which was halted in May, will stay suspended until then. Its shares had fallen about 17% this year before the suspension.

The firm was one of many Korean biotech stocks that have gone public in the country since 2016 when regulators eased listing rules for unprofitable technology ventures. SillaJen has been unprofitable every year since its 2016 listing.

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