SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) — SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., the largest initial public offering (IPO) of the year so far, made a strong market debut on Thursday, trading at more than two times the IPO price.

After the opening bell, the unit of South Korean conglomerate SK Group soared by the daily permissible limit of 30 percent to 127,000 won (US$105), sharply up from the IPO price of 49,000 won.

The drugmaker raised some 960 billion won via IPO, the largest stock offering of the year. The IPO offering also marks the highest since the 1 trillion-won IPO deal by Celltrion Healthcare in 2017.

Prior to its IPO, investors rushed for SK Biopharmaceuticals for its growth potential amid the coronavirus pandemic. They chipped in 31 trillion won in deposits to buy its stocks, the largest in the country’s IPO history.

The drugmaker was spun off in 2011 from the life science unit of SK Group that holds a 75 percent stake.

The company specializes in the research and development of treatments for disorders. It was the first South Korean company to independently develop an investigational anti-epileptic drug, Cenobamate, with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).