Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Designer to Sell Shares in U.S. IPO

A company founded by University of Oxford scientists who designed the vaccine co-developed with AstraZeneca Plc will begin selling American depositary shares in the U.S., according to a filing.

Vaccitech Plc, founded by Oxford professors Adrian Hill and Sarah Gilbert, wants to raise as much as $100 million by selling shares to investors, according to the filing Friday. In addition to vaccines against infectious disease, the company is aiming to develop treatments for hepatitis B virus, human papillomavirus and prostate cancer.

The rush to develop shots that prevent Covid-19 has put the Oxford scientists, along with vaccine developers around the world, in the spotlight. Their vaccine has been seen as a key to halting the pandemic around the world because of its low price, and because of ease of storage at refrigerator temperatures.

However, even as Vaccitech seeks to sell shares in the U.S., the vaccine hasn’t yet been submitted for emergency clearance there, and three other companies have already gained authorization for competing inoculations. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has suffered other setbacks in markets where it has been cleared for use.

Health officials are looking closely at the vaccine since it’s been associated with a rare form of blood clotting that may occur when the immune system attacks targets the body’s blood platelets.

The filing noted that Oxford agreed to forgo its share of royalties until after the pandemic period and as a result, “we do not expect to receive any share of net sales of the vaccine until after the pandemic is over, as determined in good faith by AstraZeneca, and in any event no earlier than July 1, 2021.”

Underwriters of the offering include Morgan Stanley & Co., Jeffries LLC, Barclays Capital Inc., William Blair & Co., and H.C. Wainwright & Co.

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