Backed by financial service providers KB Securities and Mirae Asset Financial Group, the Korean company’s IPO will see it list a total of 12 million shares on the public exchange. The move could provide a timely boost to ROKIT Healthcare’s international brand exposure, while attracting investment to fund the continued development of its 4D bioprinting technologies.
“We are currently in the process of two technology evaluations,” ROKIT Founder and CEO Seok-Hwan You told BioWorld, “and we are anticipating authorization results for the IPO in mid-March 2021.”
Regenerative 4D bioprinting
Renamed from ‘ROKIT’ to ROKIT Healthcare in 2018, the company leverages its proprietary 4D biofabrication technology to develop novel regenerative medicinal products. Since launching its INVIVO 3D printer in 2016, the firm has steadily expanded into new markets, raising $27 million in funding in May 2019 before opening a ROKIT America subsidiary later that year.
During 2019, ROKIT Healthcare also introduced a novel 3D bioprinting method, in which a patient’s autologous cells can be printed into a dermal patch, and used to treat scarred lesions. Given that the system yields grafts that enable the natural formation of new blood vessels, it effectively provides users with regenerated tissues, without any risk of their body rejecting them.
In the two years since, ROKIT Healthcare has deployed its technology to develop a Diabetic Foot Ulcers Regeneration Platform (DFURegen). The machine provides patient-specific patches to those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers, and in recent tests, they’ve proved capable of completely closing wounds within just five days.
While the company has begun to commercialize DFURegen in 48 countries, it plans to expand into other countries like Japan, China, and Australia in future. Using any funding raised via its upcoming IPO, ROKIT Healthcare therefore stands to accelerate the roll-out of its diabetic platform, as well as the R&D of its other regenerative products.
An imminent biopharma IPO
Although ROKIT Healthcare is working towards an IPO this summer, it has publicized very little information about how the process is actually progressing. The company applied for permission to be listed on the exchange earlier this month, and it’s expected to receive the decision imminently, allowing the firm to begin making preparations in earnest.
If ROKIT Healthcare’s public offering is given the green light, it plans to set the initial price range for its 12 million shares as early as July 2021. The move is set to be well supported by the Mirae Asset Financial Group, an experienced backer of IPOs, that has invested $194 billion worth of client capital in twelve markets around the world.
ROKIT Healthcare’s public offering also follows a string of Korean biopharma IPOs, in which a record 22 companies began trading publicly during 2020. Once listed, many of these pharmaceutical firms have seen their initial offerings become oversubscribed, and in the most recent case of SK Bioscience, its shares rose by 30% on their KOSPI debut last Thursday.
In this context, ROKIT Healthcare’s IPO could see it enter a booming marketplace for regenerative medicine companies, in which it’s more likely to hit its higher-end valuation, and raise additional capital to bankroll its 4D bioprinting aspirations.
3D printing’s IPO shift
While demand for shares in new Korean biopharma firms may be booming, market interest in more general 3D printing IPOs has also been strong in recent months.
Israeli large-format 3D printing firm Massivit3D has gone public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) at a lofty valuation of $200 million. The IPO has seen the company raise around $50 million in funding, which it intends to use to continue developing its technologies, as a means of better addressing the needs of its clients.
Similarly, 3D printing service bureau 3D Metalforge has begun trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) following an oversubscribed IPO. The move has seen the firm raise A$10 million in capital, which it’s using to upgrade its facilities in an attempt to capitalize on opportunities in the energy and defense sectors.
Elsewhere, in western markets, 3D printing firms have shown an increased tendency to use SPACs as a vehicle for going public. Markforged, for instance, merged with blank check company ‘one’ in February 2021, to create a combined $2.1 billion company with a warchest of around $425 million to fund its continued growth.
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Featured image shows ROKIT Healthcare’s DFURegen platform. Image via ROKIT Healthcare.