FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Goldman, Citi bankers abandon posts to cash in on biotech hype

At least seven senior bankers and analysts have quit since December.

Bloomberg reports that at least seven senior bankers and analysts from top-tier securities firms have quit in the past eight months to join biotech firms with the hopes of cashing in on the healthcare boom following a recent bourse reform paving the way for biotech IPOs.

Goldman Sachs’ healthcare analyst Richard Yeh was the latest example after he reportedly joined CStone Pharmaceuticals Co. as chief financial officer which comes on the heels of earlier departures from Lazard Ltd., Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc. and Jefferies Group LLC.

“During the dot-com era, everybody wanted to go into one of the internet startup companies because it was the new thing, it was exciting, with the possibility to make a lot of money if the company made it to an IPO,’’ said Stephen Peepels, a capital markets lawyer at Hogan Lovells Hong Kong. “I think it is analogous to the health-care industry in Hong Kong right now.”

At least 16 biotech firms are pursuing IPOs in Hong Kong with the goal of raising at least US$3b following sweeping market reforms allowing biotech firms with no track record of profitability to list.

Also read: US biotech firms seeking larger valuations rush to Hong Kong

The biotech sector was chosen as initial focus in widening market access as they make up a majority of companies in the pre-revenue stage seeking a Main Board listing and clinical trials tend to be highly regulated under the previous regime.

Here’s more from Bloomberg

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