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Contera Pharma clears first hurdle towards its IPO A Danish bioventure can now use the technology exception rule to be listed on the Kosdaq

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2020-02-20 08:00:52

이 기사는 2020년 02월 20일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

Danish bioventure Contera Pharma, a subsidiary of Bukwang Pharmaceutical, has cleared its first hurdle on its way to a Korean stock market debut. The Korea Exchange (KRX) has recently included Denmark as one of the qualified foreign stock exchanges, which enables Contera Pharma to take advantage of the technology exception rule to go public on the Kosdaq market.

According to investment banking (IB) industry sources, the KRX recently has announced major market insiders that it has included Nasdaq Copenhagen (Copenhagen Stock Exchange) as one of the qualified foreign stock exchanges.

Stock exchanges in developed countries including the U.S. (Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange), Europe (Euronext), Japan (Tokyo Stock Exchange), the U.K. (London Stock Exchange), Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Canada are on the list of qualified foreign stock exchanges.

And recently, the KRX added Nasdaq Copenhagen on the list through its internal review. Thanks to the recent alteration, Contera Pharma, which has been preparing to go public, could clear one of its major hurdles towards its initial public offering (IPO).

Last year, the KRX began to allow foreign companies to use the technology exception rule on the condition that they undergo stricter reviews on technological competitiveness. The companies must receive 'A' rating from all two rating agencies designated by the KRX. Also, foreign firms have to be established in countries that are part of the qualified foreign stock exchanges.

Industry watchers take the KRX’s decision as a sign that it has acknowledged the possibility of Contera Pharma. Contera Pharma is the only Danish company that attempts to use the technology exception rule to go public after the rule revision.

Industry insiders view Contera Pharma as a high potential player in the biotech sector. Contera Pharma specializes in the central nervous system. Its main product JM-010 is a new drug candidate to treat dyskinesia caused by levodopa, commonly taken by patients with Parkinson’s disease. Although levodopa has excellent efficacy, long-term medication can cause movement disorders such as chorea or muscle tension disorder.

Bukwang Pharmaceutical discovered potential in Contera Pharma and acquired a 100 percent stake in the company for around 3.4 billion won in November of 2014. The Danish company has put more efforts into R&D, which has made its phase 2 clinical trials currently underway in Europe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has approved the phase 2 clinical trial of JM-010.

Contera Pharma’s valuation has jumped in a short amount of time. The firm received three billion won through Series A funding round from Medici Investment in July of 2019. Medici Investment valued Contera Pharma at 153.4 billion won, which is 45 times larger than the PE firm’s 3.4 billion won investment in the company at the end of 2014. Contera Pharma plans to go public in 2021 while industry watchers estimate the IPO value to be at least one trillion won.

“Contera Pharma is considered a high potential player in the biotech industry, given that there are very few domestic biotech companies that can apply for the FDA’s approval for phase 2 clinical trials. The KRX’s recent decision to acknowledge Denmark as a qualified stock exchange doesn’t seem irrelevant to Contera Pharma’s achievements,” said an IB industry source.

(By reporter Lee Kyung-joo)
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