A prized UK biotech firm looks to Wall Street, much to Rishi Sunak’s dismay

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Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, is a high-profile float that slipped away

A glowing, Deliveroo-style tribute from Rishi Sunak will not be required for this flotation. Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm that owns some of the key biotechnology behind the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, is off to New York for a public listing. One can almost hear the groans from the Treasury. For a chancellor trying to encourage “even more high growth, dynamic businesses to list in the UK”, Vaccitech is a high-profile one to let slip.

Sarah Gilbert and Adrian Hill, the professors who founded Vaccitech, have yet to explain their choice of the US, but one can speculate. The listed biotech sector in the US is enormous and companies tend to command higher ratings. The path is also well-trodden in recent years, including by Immuncore this year. Nor are UK biotechs alone in Europe in looking to New York. CureVac, the German firm that is also working on Covid vaccines, listed on Nasdaq last year.

Related: AstraZeneca vaccine scientists set for £22m payday in New York float

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