In testament to the murky sentiment hanging over the Hong Kong stock exchange — and hot on a record-breaking streak of public debuts stateside — high-flying cancer testing startup Grail has reportedly dropped its plans for a Hong Kong listing in favor of the US market.
Months after getting the scoop on Grail’s intention to list on the HKEX, Bloomberg is now reporting that Grail is mulling a US IPO instead, with a filing expected as early as 2019, citing unnamed sources.
The company, backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, has not responded to the reports.
The Menlo Park, CA-based company has not, however, stayed silent about its aggressive fundraising. In May, Grail scored $300 million from Ally Bridge Group and other marquee Chinese investors including Hillhouse Capital Group, 6 Dimensions Capital, Blue Pool Capital, Sequoia Capital China and WuXi NextCODE. Pitchbook data, as cited by Bloomberg, puts its private valuation at about $3.2 billion.
When Hong Kong first opened up its stock exchange to pre-revenue biotechs, Grail and fellow US biotech unicorn Moderna were rumoured to be the two overseas big shots who would be enticed by the prospects of listing in the Asian financial hub. Moderna has since filed a record $600 million IPO on the Nasdaq, while the first few companies listed on the HKEX have given some investors pause with underwhelming performances.
These weak performances, combined with an increase in market volatility, are the chief reasons behind Grail’s change of heart, the report suggested.
Steering Grail to the potential IPO will be Genentech vet and CEO Jennifer Cook as well as George Golumbeski, who joined as president after leaving a lengthy dealmaking career with Celgene.
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