Buzz: BGI is preparing for a $400M Hong Kong IPO in Q4

It is months since the chatter around Chinese sequencing giant BGI's initial public offering (IPO) advanced from "will it happen?" to "when, where and how much?" Now Bloomberg has some answers. A $400 million IPO in Hong Kong is reportedly penciled in for the fourth quarter.

A sequencing room at BGI Hong Kong--Courtesy of Scotted400, Creative Commons CC BY 3.0

The offering will only cover the BGI Tech unit that provides next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics services to drugmakers and agricultural businesses. BGI is restructuring ahead of the IPO but has yet to decide exactly which assets to include in the listing. The decision will rest on what BGI believes the unit needs to fulfill its ambition of expanding its presence in the gene sequencing services sector. Bloomberg reports the cash raised in the IPO will go toward furthering this goal.

BGI created its Tech unit in 2012 to commercialize the work of the broader company, which was set up in 1999 as a nonprofit. Over its 15-year history BGI has grown into an industrial-scale genomics business that has reportedly sequenced more than 50,000 human genomes and produces 500 cloned pigs a year. The scale of BGI has put it on the global stage, with FastCompany listing the business as the 37th most innovative company on Earth in a recent report. BGI ranked second in the top 10s for healthcare and China.

FastCompany left Illumina ($ILMN) off its list, but the San Diego-based sequencing powerhouse received recognition from another publication this week. MIT Technology Review put Illumina at the top of its list of the 50 smartest companies. Illumina beat the likes of Google ($GOOG), Samsung and Amazon ($AMZN) to the top prize. "In the coming age of genomic medicine, Illumina is poised to be what Intel was to the PC era--the dominant supplier of the fundamental technology," the publication wrote in its report.

- read the Bloomberg article
- here's the FastCompany report
- and MIT's Illumina profile