Meritz Securities emerging as major investor in biotech industry The brokerage house invests $42 mil in three biotech firms in three months

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2022-02-11 08:16:06

이 기사는 2022년 02월 11일 08:04 thebell 에 표출된 기사입니다.

Meritz Securities is emerging as a big player in the biotech industry, making investments worth billions of won over the last three months.

Meritz Securities has made principal investments totaling 50 billion won ($42 million) in three biotech firms - Huinno, ImmuneOncia Therapeutics, and Therabest - from October to December 2021, more than 15 billion won in each firm, according to industry sources said.

Huinno is a healthcare startup developing wearable solutions. Yuhan Corp became the second largest shareholder of the company two years ago. Meritz Securities made a pre-initial public offering (pre-IPO) investment in Huinno in December 2021, valuing the company at 250 billion won. The valuation grew 10 times since Yuhan made its investment. SL Investment, KTB Network, Korea Development Bank, A Ventures, and A1 Ventures also participated in the pre-IPO funding.

ImmuneOncia is a joint venture formed by Yuhan and Nasdaq-listed Sorrento Therapeutics. The company raised 24.5 billion won in a pre-IPO placement in January, which valued the company at about 250 billion won. Meritz Securities, Yuhan, the largest shareholder of ImmuneOncia, Premier Partners, K2 Investment Partners, Shinvestor & Partners, BNH Investment, E& Investment, and Hanyang Securities participated in the funding round.

Therabest develops induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived NK cell therapy. Yuhan is also the largest shareholder of the company. Meritz Securities joined a Series C funding round in November 2011, valuing Therabest at 180 billion won. Other investors included DS Asset, DA Value Investment, and Cloud IB Investment.

Meritz Securities’ investments in the biotech companies are led by Kim Jae-kyo, vice president of the brokerage firm’s investment & development division. Kim served as director and head of global strategy division at Yuhan, where he handled mergers and acquisitions and investments in biotech firms at home and abroad.

Meritz Securities plans to make investments with an emphasis on development. It will consider ways to maximize a company's technology and expand its valuation, instead of simply injecting capital.

“We aim to make investments that would open the way for biotech firms with technology to enhance their competitiveness,” said an official at Meritz Securities. “We plan to create a virtuous cycle that promotes trust in K-Bio through investments focusing on development.”(Reporting by Eun-jin Choi)
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