In 2022, the biotech sector felt the impact of the challenges facing global capital markets and Hong Kong was no exception. Last year, only eight biotech companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (HKEX), raising an aggregate of USD 473 million. Nonetheless, Hong Kong continues to serve a thriving biotech ecosystem and the eight companies listed, all at relatively advanced stages of development, have spent an average of about USD 93.1 million on R&D during the two full financial years prior to IPO.
Characteristics of the Companies Listed in 2022
As in previous years, biotech companies listed in 2022 were at a relatively mature stage of development and listed on average 10 years after they had been established. This aligns with the Hong Kong regulatory regime that binds companies to have at least one “Core Product” beyond the “concept stage” in order to be able to list on HKEX, therefore limiting listings to advanced development stage companies.
Last year HKEX-listed firms raised an average of USD 230 million in aggregate pre-IPO funding compared to USD 216 million in 2021 and USD 229 million in 2020 and spent an average of approximately USD 93.1 million on R&D during the two financial years prior to IPO, compared to USD 33 million in 2021 and USD 91 million in 2020.
2022 HKEX Listed Companies
3D Medicines, founded in Shanghai in 2010, focuses on the development of differentiated immuno-oncology drugs, helping cancer patients live with prolonged survival time and a better quality of life. 3D Medicines has established a pipeline with both biological macromolecule and chemotherapeutic small-molecule drugs. The company’s late-stage pipeline is powered by mono and combo therapies targeting a broad patient group.
Using its proprietary RenMabTM /RenLite® mice platforms for fully human monoclonal and bispecific antibody development, Biocytogen has integrated its in vivo drug efficacy screening platforms and clinical development expertise to streamline the drug development process. Biocytogen is undertaking a large-scale project to develop antibody drugs for more than 1,000 targets, known as Project Integrum, and has entered ongoing collaborations with several partners worldwide to produce antibody drugs. The Beijing-based company was created in 2009.
Established in Shanghai in 2013, Cryofocus Medtech is a medical device company centred on minimally-invasive interventional cryotherapy. Leveraging the company’s unique liquid nitrogen cryoablation technology, Cryofocus has developed a product portfolio focused mainly on vascular intervention for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, hypertension and other serious cardiovascular diseases, and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery.
Jenscare Scientific, created in 2011, is a medical devices company that is focused on the R&D, production, sales and service of minimally invasive interventional therapies for structural heart diseases. The company’s core products include LuX-Valven, a transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement system for patients with severe tricuspid regurgitation and high surgical risk and Ken-Valve for the treatment of severe aortic regurgitation or combined with aortic stenosis. Jenscare also develops candidates for the treatment of mitral valve diseases and medical devices for the treatment of heart failure.
Recbio Biotechnology, a company which was set up in 2011 and is headquartered in Taizhou, China, is focused on vaccines. It has built three core technical platforms composed of new adjuvants, protein engineering and immune evaluation, forming synergistic effects in antigen design and optimization, adjuvant development and production, and identification of the optimal combination of antigens and adjuvants. The company has established a comprehensive and high-value vaccine combination covering 12 candidate vaccines, including cervical cancer; COVID-19; adult tuberculosis; herpes zoster; hand, foot and mouth disease, and influenza.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Shanghai, China, Lepu Biopharma was officially listed in the HKEX in February 2022. The company has developed a product pipeline focusing on tumour candidate drugs, including ADC, oncolytic drugs and immunotherapy in the clinical and preclinical stages. At the time of its listing, Lepu Biopharma had a product pipeline consisting of multiple tumour candidate drugs and combination therapies, including eight clinical candidate drugs, three preclinical candidate drugs and three clinical candidate drugs for combined therapies.
Rainmed Medical, a medical device company created in 2014 and based in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, successfully listed under the HKEX’s chapter 18A for biotech companies in August 2022. The company is currently focusing on the design, development and commercialization of a coronary angiography-derived fractional flow reserve system and a coronary angiography-derived index of a microvascular resistance system.
Shandong Boan develops, manufactures, and commercialises biologics in oncology, metabolism, autoimmunity, and ophthalmology, based on its own technology platforms. The company, founded in 2013, currently has two commercialised products, both biosimilars approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).