Private equity firm Highland Equity Partners plans to invest in CHA Vaccine Institute, a subsidiary of CHA Biotech Co Ltd.

Highland has decided to invest 15 billion won ($12.6 million) in research-oriented biotechnology company CHA Vaccine Institute and has begun marketing to limited partners, industry sources said on August 21. CHA Vaccine Institute is reportedly seeking to raise funds to secure money for research and development and receive a more accurate valuation prior to its planned initial public offering (IPO) next year.

CHA Biotech holds a 56% stake in CHA Vaccine Institute, which researches and develops a broad range of vaccine products targeting infectious disease as well as chronic disease.

CHA Vaccine Institute is currently carrying out Phase 2 clinical trials in patients with chronic hepatitis B. The institute received a total of 12 billion won from investors last year, including STIC Ventures, Hyundai Investment Partners, LSK Investment, UQI Partners and Maple Investment Partners.

Highland has reportedly made the investment in CHA Vaccine Institute, betting on the firm’s high-growth potential and possibility of listing. CHA Vaccine Institute plans to apply for technology evaluation by the end of this year and list its shares on the KOSDAQ next year. Samsung Securities has already been picked as an underwriter for the IPO. (Reporting by Se-hun Jo)