The scientist who led the development of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is on course for a payday of more than £20m through a stock market listing, according to reports.
Professor Sarah Gilbert owns just over 5% of a company she co-founded in 2016 called Vaccitech.
According to the Financial Times, the biotechnology start-up has confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the US – a flotation that could earn her £22m under its last funding round valuation of £425m.
Vaccitech owns the technology behind the COVID-19 jab – which is being sold by the pharma firm on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic – and other medical treatments and products.
It was said to be planning a listing on the Nasdaq exchange within weeks as US stock markets hit record levels on the back of expectations of a vaccine-led recovery for the economy.
The Oxford-Astra jab, while hailed as a first rate product, has hit bumps in the road over concerns about a possible link to blood clots in a small number of recipients.
Vaccitech’s shareholders include Professor Gilbert’s Oxford colleague, Professor Adrian Hill, the other co-founder who also has a stake of 5.2%.
GV, the venture capital fund of Google’s parent firm Alphabet, has an interest of 12%.
The FT reported that the UK government also owned a stake though any interest was not listed in details lodged with Companies House.
The government issued a grant of almost £156,000 to Vaccitech for COVID jab research and it is common for equity to be included in return for such money under standard contracts via the National Institute for Health Research agency.
Sky News has contacted the Treasury for comment.
Vaccitech is yet to…