Bridge Biotherapeutics to become first ‘NRDO’ biotech to go public in Korea

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Nov 22, 2019 - 21:51
  • Updated : Nov 22, 2019 - 21:51

Biotech startup Bridge Biotherapeutics is on its way to becoming the first Kosdaq-listed no-research, development-only company in Korea by the end of this year, the company said Friday.

This is the company’s third attempt at making an initial public offering, and more promising than the previous two attempts on the back of the record 1.5 trillion-won ($1.27 billion) licensing out to Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim in July.

Bridge Biotherapeutics holds an initial public offering press conference at Conrad Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul, on Friday. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

In a press conference held at Conrad Seoul, CEO Lee Jung-kue said that he hopes going public would help the biotech retain minimum three clinical-phase pipelines at all times, as well as have the financial capacity to independently carry out later-stage trials.

Bridge Biotherapeutics’ market capitalization after listing is anticipated to reach 442 billion won, which would place the company within the top 100 firms on Kosdaq. The firm will list 700,000 shares, each at a price between 70,000 won and 80,000 won.

Bridge Biotherapeutics’ NRDO competitiveness is in the licensing in of best-in-class or first-in-class potential drug candidates in the areas of high unmet needs. After carrying out phase 1 and phase 2a clinical trials, it would hand over the baton -- in exchange of royalties -- to a bigger pharmaceuticals firm that has a special interest in the pipeline, with capacity for development and commercialization.

Since establishment four years ago, Bridge Biotherapeutics has successfully licensed out to Korea’s Daewoong Pharmaceutical and Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical licensed in the ulcerative colitis treatment pipeline BBT-401, a pellino-1 inhibitor, for 47 billion won for the Asia-wide rights.

Boehringer Ingelheim licensed in the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis pipeline BBT-877, an autotaxin inhibitor, for a staggering 1.5 trillion won, for worldwide rights.

“We have established ourselves as the go-to partner for development through the past three years’ track record,” CEO Lee said.

Lee explained that Bridge Biotherapeutics strategizes for “one license-in, one IND” per year.

“We plan to review and license in more than one drug candidate every year, and make one investigational new drug application for human clinical trials,” Lee said.

As for the IPO schedule, which has been postponed from November to December due to the Financial Supervisory Service’s reviews process, Chief Financial Officer Park Taek-sang said the additional time would give investors sufficient time to go through the merits and risks of investing in an innovative biotech.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (