If track records are important, investors might want to follow closely Hong Kong-based Prenetics. The diagnostics company is the brainchild of entrepreneur Danny Yeung, who founded Groupon Inc. (GRPN, Financial), SXE Ventures and Fave.
All signs point to Prenetics on the cusp of being acquired by special purpose acquisitions company Artisan Acquisition Corp. (ARTA), which is based in the Cayman Islands. Artisan filed for a $300 million initial public offering in March and is now traded as "ARTAU" on the Nasdaq. It’s led by Adrian and Ben Cheng, members of the family behind the Hong Kong-based multibillion-dollar conglomerate New World Development.
For the past 10 years, Prenetics has been working on DNA tests that that could help determine an individual’s genetics on such factors as diet, drug response and risk of disease. The company has raised $60 million to fund its work.
In the past year, Prenetics joined numerous other diagnostics companies working on Covid-19 testing. Besides performing tests at its labs, Prenetics linked up with Oxsed, the molecular diagnostics spinout from the University of Oxford, and OSCAR, its Suzhou, China-based research center. Things worked out so well that earlier this year, Oxford and Prenetics inked a three-year, multimillion-dollar collaboration to bring its molecular testing technology to other infectious diseases.
Prenetics is credited with developing the first economical at-home Covid-19 test kits. Since the start of the year, the tests have been used by the Hong Kong government, which issues 30,000 of them daily. Prenetics has processed over 3 million kits in the U.K. and Hong Kong.
Artisan’s merger with Prenetics will create a new public company. The stock will trade under the Prenetics name with a ticker symbol yet to come. The company’s estimated valuation of about $1.3 billion should continue to grow. MedTech reported that a source told CNBC that Prenetics’ sales could shoot up from a projected $200 million this year to $600 million by 2025.
To prepare for the potential transaction, Artisan has already raised $339 million, according to CNBC. The SPAC has also secured another $60 million in forward purchase agreements from investment firms PAG and Aspex Management, as well as UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse and CICC. Artisan trades at $9.60 a share.