Hong Kong biotech start-up Prenetics to record in US by means of SPAC deal

Hong Kong biotech company Prenetics is going public through a merger with Artisan Acquisition — a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC — in a deal that will value the combined entity at $1.7 billion, the companies announced Thursday.

Confirming CNBC’s earlier report, the two companies said the transaction is expected to close as early as the fourth quarter.

This will make Prenetics the first Hong Kong unicorn, or billion-dollar start-up, to become a publicly traded company.

The combined company will be traded on the Nasdaq under a new ticker symbol PRE upon completion.

The merger is expected to provide up to $459 million in cash proceeds, which will go toward strategic acquisitions, geographical expansion and research and development.

Prenetics CEO Danny Yeung (left) and Artisan Acquisition’s founder Adrian Cheng, who is also CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of New World Development. Prenetics is going public through a SPAC merger with Artisan Acquisition that will value the combined entity at $1.7 billion.

Source: Prenetics

Artisan Acquisition is backed by Adrian Cheng, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of Hong Kong-listed New World Development. Prenetics looks to draw upon Cheng’s business portfolio which spans retail, hospitality, health care, and property.

Hong Kong-based Prenetics is a diagnostic and genetic testing company which operates in 10 countries. To date, the company has conducted more than 5 million Covid-19 tests for clients including the Hong Kong government and London Heathrow Airport.

It counts names like Chinese internet company Alibaba, and insurers Ping An and Prudential as strategic investors.  

The company has grown significantly since its founding in 2014. It projects 2021 revenue to jump three-fold year-on-year to $205 million and hit $600 million by 2025.

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