Hong Kong Remained Asia’s Largest Biotech Fundraising Hub in 2021

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Having consolidated its position as Asia’s largest biotech fundraising hub – and the world’s second largest – the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) listed a total of 34 biotech and healthcare companies in 2021. “[Last year’s listings] made us rank first by number of deals and second by the amount of funds raised globally,” a representative of HKEX told PharmaBoardroom.

 

Telling the story of a strong year for IPOs, HKEX’s annual report revealed that success was “driven by an especially positive first half… The very strong IPO pipeline was boosted by a range of homecoming overseas-listed Chinese stocks and new economy and biotech companies in particular.”

According to the report, “new economy” sectors in information technology and healthcare have become their fastest-growing IPO segments; the latter accounted for almost a quarter of IPO funds raised last year.

“In particular, the robust biotech ecosystem in Hong Kong attracted 34 biotech and healthcare listings in 2021, including 20 companies listed under Chapter 18A of the Main Board Listing Rules.”

 

Successful listing reforms

The exchange’s biotech momentum could be attributed to listing reforms introduced in 2018 that allowed pre-revenue biotech companies to raise funding through a path called Chapter 18A, which, among other things, requires biotech applicants to have at least two years of operations in the same line of business and an initial market capitalization of about USD 193 million.

HKEX closed 2021 with a total of 92 biotech and healthcare listings on its main board, raising a total of HKD 255 billion (USD 32.6 billion) since the launch of the internal reforms. The figure includes 48 pre-revenue biotech companies that have listed under Chapter 18A, raising a total of HKD 112.6 billion (USD 14.4 billion).

“[The Hong Kong exchange] had a strong year in 2021, despite a turbulent macro backdrop and the ongoing pandemic. Revenue and other income, and profit both reached record highs… I am confident that HKEX is well-positioned as a super-connector to play an increasingly important role in the fast-evolving global capital markets of the future,” said Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of HKEX.

As part of their efforts to promote biotech investment, HKEX recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), allowing them to gain access to HKSTP’s “deep pool” of biotech industry experts to assist in the review of biotech listing applications. It was the second big development of the year for HKTSP after launching a program with AstraZeneca to support startups working on cancer treatments.

 

See here for the list of biotech companies that made IPO filings during Q3 2021.

And click here for the list of biotech companies that made IPO filings during Q1 and Q2 2021.


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