Terry Gou to acquire stake in biotech firm

Source: CNA news

Terry Gou (郭台銘), the founder of Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has agreed to acquire a stake in biosimilar drug developer EirGenix Inc. that will make him the company's largest shareholder.

Gou signed a memorandum of understanding with EirGenix Inc. earlier this week to acquire a 18.56 percent stake in the biotech company for NT$5.03 billion (US$177 million) through Hung Wei Co., which is owned by Gou.

According to EirGenix Inc., which is listed on Taiwan's over-the-counter market, it is launching a rights issue to sell 35 million new shares and a private placement to sell an additional 55 million new shares to raise funds.

Hung Wei will acquire all 55 million shares offered in the private placement for NT$91.5 per share, allowing Gou to become EirGenix's largest shareholder, the biotech company said in a statement.

The private placement plan, which will be carried out in stages, still has to be approved by EirGenix's shareholders.

Commenting on the investment plan, EirGenix President Liu Lee-cheng (劉理成) said Gou did not hesitate to inject funds into EirGenix and give it access to his resources and connections worldwide, which could help it execute its global expansion plan.

Beyond developing biosimilar drugs in Taiwan, EirGenix has set its sights on international cooperation and acquisitions to build itself into a biosimilar drug research and development hub, Liu said.

On its website, EirGenix, which was founded in December 2012, said it is currently developing seven biosimilar drugs, including four that are aimed at treating breast cancer.

Gou's massive investment in EirGenix has drawn attention because of his dedication to cancer prevention since his wife died of breast cancer in 2005 and his younger brother died of acute myeloid leukemia in 2007.

Gou set up YongLin Healthcare Foundation in 2007, and it joined with National Taiwan University to open the National Taiwan University Cancer Center. The facility's joint radiation and proton center is scheduled to start operations next year.

In 2017, Gou launched a 10-year plan on genetic testing and clinical research for breast cancer and leukemia patients.

In addition, Gou has also invested in digital health care and precision health care by establishing several startups, including H2U Corp., which plans to launch an initial public offering in two years.

(By Han Ting-ting, Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)

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