Following the recent news of Remegen’s massive USD 515 million IPO in November 2020, we bring you profiles of the seven biggest biotech companies to IPO in 2020. Notably, six of the seven companies are from China, pointing to the massive growth of the Chinese biotech market.
RemeGen, a low-profile Chinese biotech company based in Yantai city in the coastal Shandong province, around nine hours by train from the bustling biopharma hub of Shanghai, made history in 2020 as the largest biotech IPO of the year.
It also represented one of the biggest IPOs of all time after Moderna’s USD 600 million-plus IPO a few years back, raising USD 515 million on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) at the end of October 2020, topping already impressive figures raised by its peers earlier in the year. The IPO came hot on the heels of RemeGen’s private financing round co-led by Lilly Asia Ventures and Lake Bleu Capital, which was held in April and raised approximately USD 100 million.
Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Group (Hepalink) raised USD 491 million in its 2020 listing on the HKEX. The company, established in 1998 in Shenzhen, China, has become the largest heparin API supplier globally, and the fourth largest supplier of enoxaparin finished doses in the world.
In listing on the HKEX in October 2020, Simcere, which holds both innovative drugs and generics in its portfolio, raised USD 461 million. This represented the company’s second listing after its IPO in New York in 2007, which made it the first Chinese pharmaceutical company with both biologics and small molecule drugs to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2013, the company was taken private for USD 495 million by a consortium led by its founder, Jinsheng Ren.
Everest Medicines raised USD 451 million in its HKEX listing of October 2020. Fu Wei, CEO of healthcare investment platform CBC Group which owns Everest stated, “Everest’s pipeline of discovery drugs has the potential to advance and revolutionize therapeutic treatments in oncology, autoimmune disorders, cardio-renal diseases and infectious diseases, and we look forward to continuing to support them as they look to transform China’s burgeoning biotech industry.”
Nanjing-based developer of cell therapies for cancer Legend Biotech raised USD 424 million in its 2020 IPO. The company was formed in 2014 as the CAR-T subsidiary of Chinese CDMO Giant GenScript. Although the IPO means that Legend is striking out on its own, GenScript will keep close ties to its former subsidiary.
However, 2020 was not a completely positive year for the company after Fangliang “Frank” Zhang, the founder of both Genscript and Legend was arrested on suspected smuggling charges.
The only non-Chinese firm in 2020’s top IPO list, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Relay Therapeutics raised USD 400 million via its July NASDAQ listing. Relay specialises in precision medicine, using computer models to study how proteins move and fold in the hopes of creating more specialized, efficient cancer treatments.
Oncology and autoimmune specialist Genor Pharma reached a market cap of USD 1.8 billion following its USD 371 million HKEX listing in 2020. The Beijing-based firm has operations across China as well as in San Francisco
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