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China’s BeiGene raises $903m from Hong Kong IPO

Mammoth debut might have exceeded $1bn but for market jitters

BeiGene has become the latest Chinese biotech to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, raising $903m, near the top of its target range.

The company – which has just started pivotal trials for its lead cancer immunotherapy tislelizumab and hopes to file it in China this year – is the ninth biotech to take advantage of changes in the HKEX regulations that were introduced last year and allow companies without revenues or profits to list on the exchange.

Hong Kong Exchange Square

Hong Kong's Exchange Square: the decision to allow 'pre-revenue' biotechs to list on the HKEX has opened the floodgates

In some cases, biotechs have abandoned Nasdaq listing plans to plump instead for Hong Kong, but BeiGene has gone down the dual-listing route in the US and closer to home. The company had been hoping to breach the $1bn threshold with its IPO, but  may have been affected by an ongoing scare about the safety of paediatric vaccines in China, which has dampened enthusiasm for the sector among retail investors.

Nevertheless, the flotation is the largest for a biotech on the HKEX to date, and once again underscores the emergence of China as a hot spot for biopharmaceutical development.

John Oyler

BeiGene, led by American CEO John Oyler with an executive team made up of Chinese and international executives, says it will use the proceeds from the IPO “for clinical trials, preparation for registration filings, and for the launch and commercialization of its core product candidates.”

In addition to PD-1 inhibitor tislelizumab, which will be filed initially in relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is also in late-stage trials for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), hepatocellular carcinoma, and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, the company is developing BTK inhibitor zanubrutinib and pamiparib, a PARP 1/2 inhibitor.

BeiGene recently said it had completed enrolment in a phase III trial of zanubrutinib in Waldenström macroglobulinemia and could file for approval in the US in mid-2019. If approved, it would compete with Johnson & Johnson/AbbVie's big-selling Imbruvica (ibrutinib) and other therapies nearing the market, including AstraZeneca's already-filed acalabrutinib.

Meanwhile, pamiparib is being developed for solid tumours, and last month started a phase III trial as a maintenance therapy in patients with inoperable locally advanced or metastatic gastric cancer who responded to platinum-based first-line chemotherapy. It’s also in earlier-stage trials for other solid tumours, including glioblastoma.  It’s a potential rival to marketed PARP inhibitors from AstraZeneca (Lynparza), Clovis Oncology (Rubraca) and Tesaro (Zejula).

BeiGene’s shares are expected to begin trading on the HKEX on 8 August under the stock code “06160”.

Article by
Phil Taylor

3rd August 2018

From: Marketing

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