(Bloomberg) --

Sanofi SA has picked Bank of America Corp., BNP Paribas SA and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to lead the initial public offering of its business manufacturing drug ingredients, according to people familiar with the matter.

The French pharmaceuticals company is seeking to raise about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in an IPO of its EUROAPI unit next year, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. 

More banks could get added to the listing roster, according to the people. Representatives for Bank of America, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan and Sanofi declined to comment.

Active pharmaceutical ingredients are chemical molecules and biological substances essential to any drug. Interest in the sector increased amid the Covid-19 pandemic as Europe looked to safeguard local supplies of key drug ingredients, rather than rely on Asian manufacturers.

In February 2020, Sanofi announced plans to create a new active pharmaceutical ingredients company generating around 1 billion euros in sales. It said at the time that it planned to retain around 30% in the company and would consider Paris as a listing venue.

Sanofi in January unveiled EUROAPI as the name of the new unit, which has a catalog of about 200 active pharmaceutical ingredients used in everything from anti-inflammatory drugs to treatments for Parkinson’s disease, according to its website.

Rothschild & Co. has been advising Sanofi on the IPO plans, Bloomberg News reported previously.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.