Hong Kong: HKEX Biotech IPOs in the First Half of 2021

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Three years after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) introduced reforms to allow and support the listing of pre-profit biotech companies, it has become Asia’s largest, and the world’s second-largest, biotech fundraising hub.

 

According to HKEX, the exchange is home to companies seeking international exposure, proximity to China and “deep” liquid markets. So far, 33 pre-revenue biotech listings have occurred, raising HKD 87 billion (USD 11.1 billion).

In an interview with PharmaBoardroom in 2020, HKEX’s SVP of Global Issuer Services, Michael Chan, explained that the biotech chapter is a great and timely addition to the development of biotechnology in China and Asia: “[Notably], at the IPO stage, issuers have access to both Chinese and international investors. During the IPO process, these biotech companies were not only able to secure access to funding, but also to put in place important partnerships and alliances to further their business strategies.”

At the time, he highlighted that the market would like to see more diversity in terms of different subsectors, including medical devices, diagnostics, biologics, genomics, artificial intelligence, and other therapeutic areas.

That wish appears to be materializing this year as new listings include a CRO, CDMOs, several vaccine companies and Sirnaomics, a clinical-state biopharma company working with RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

 

Here is a list of the biotech companies that have made IPO filings so far in 2021:

3D Medicines

Read our 2019 interview with 3D Medicines’ CEO, John Gong

  • Founded in 2010, headquartered in Shanghai, China
  • CEO: John Gong
  • Focus Area: Immuno-Oncology

3D Medicines is a medicine company focused on cancer precision medical treatment. It uses an individual’s genetic information to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

 

Novotech

Read our 2019 interview with Novotech’s CEO, John Moller

  • Headquartered in Sydney, Australia
  • CEO: John Moller
  • Focus Area: CRO

Novotech is an Asia-Pacific biotech specialist CRO and consists of two operating brands, “Novotech” and “PPC”. The company is a full-service clinical CRO with labs, phase I facilities, and drug development consulting services. It has accumulated experience in over 3,700 clinical projects, including Phase I to Phase IV clinical trials and bioequivalence studies.

 

Betta Pharmaceuticals

  • Founded in 2003 in Hangzhou
  • Chairman of the Board & CEO: Lieming Ding
  • Therapeutic areas of focus: Oncology
  • Commercial Products: Two in China.

Betta Pharmaceuticals was established in 2003 and is headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The company invests in innovative drug development for cancer, diabetes and other major diseases that seriously affect human health. In 2017, Betta invested 380 million RMB to its R&D, accounting for 37 percent of its revenue. Currently, there are more than 30 innovative drug projects in Betta’s pipeline with 15 in clinical stages, including 4 in phase III clinical trials

 

Apollomics

  • Headquartered in Foster City, California, USA
  • CEO: Guo-Liang Yu, PhD
  • Area of focus: Oncology

Apollomics develops monotherapies and combination therapies of tumor-targeting agents and immuno-oncology agents. It has operating entities in Foster City, California, USA and Hangzhou, China. The company’s product pipeline has many projects at different stages of development, including novel, humanized monoclonal antibodies that restore the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells, and targeted therapies against uncontrolled growth signaling pathways.

 

CARsgen

Read our 2019 article about CARsgen’s US FDA Orphan Drug Designation

  • Founded in 2014, headquartered in Shanghai
  • Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board & CEO: LI Zonghai
  • Therapeutic areas of focus: Oncology

CARsgen is a biopharmaceutical company with operations in China and the U.S. focused on innovative CAR-T cell therapies for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

In 2019, the US FDA granted orphan drug designation to the company’s CAR-T cell therapy CT053 for multiple myeloma after positive results were observed in the phase I trial efficacy evaluation.

 

Clover Biopharmaceuticals

Read our 2020 article about Clover’s Covid-19 partnership with GSK

  • Founded in 2007, headquartered in Chengdu
  • CEO: Joshua Liang
  • Therapeutic area of focus: Vaccines

Clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel vaccines and biologic therapeutic candidates. Their Trimer-Tag technology platform is a product development platform for the creation of novel vaccines and biologic therapies.

 

Abbisko Therapeutics

  • Founded in 2016, headquartered in Shanghai, China
  • CEO: Dr. Yao-Chang Xu
  • Focus Area: Oncology

Abbisko Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of innovative and differentiated small molecule oncology therapies.

 

Ambio Pharmaceuticals

  • Founded in 2005, headquartered in North Augusta, South Carolina, USA
  • Founder, Chairman and CEO: Juncai (Chris) Bai
  • Focus Area: CDMO

AmbioPharm specializes in developing manufacturing processes for peptide-based Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) at very small to very large scales. In its manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, USA and Shanghai, China, AmbioPharm manufactures New Chemical Entities (NCEs) and generic peptide APIs under cGMP for clients worldwide. Both facilities are FDA-approved.

 

ArkBio

  • Headquartered in Shanghai, China
  • Focus Area: Rare Diseases

ArkBiosciences is a Shanghai-based biotech company developing innovative therapeutics for viral infection and respiratory diseases. The company has its R&D Center in Suzhou BioBay, China, and offices in the United States, Australia and Switzerland. Ark Biosciences has its own active R&D programs and programs in collaboration with external partners.

 

CanBridge Pharma

  • Founded in 2012, headquartered in China
  • Founder, Chairman and CEO: James Xue, Ph.D.
  • Focus Area: Rare Diseases

Established in 2012, CANbridge is a China-based, global rare disease-focused biopharmaceutical company. As of June 21,2021, the company had developed a pipeline of 13 drug assets with significant market potential targeting some of the most prevalent rare diseases as well as rare oncology indications, including three marketed products, three drug candidates at clinical stage, two at IND-enabling stage, two at preclinical stage and another three gene therapy programs at lead identification stage.

 

YishengBio

  • Headquartered in Shanghai, China
  • Focus Area: vaccines

YishengBio is discovering, developing and commercializing biotherapeutics for infectious disease and cancer. YishengBio has a revenue generating marketed product, YSJA rabies vaccine, which is the first aluminum-free lyophilized rabies vaccine launched in China. Earlier this year, the company raised USD 130 Million in Series B funding to accelerate pipeline development and commercialization.

 

Transcenta

Read our 2019 interview with Transcenta’s CEO, Xueming Qian

  • Headquartered in Suzhou, China
  • Co-Founder and CEO: Xueming Qian
  • Focus Area: Cancer, Bone, and Kidney

Transcenta is a clinical stage global biotherapeutics company that fully integrates antibody-based biotherapeutics discovery, development and manufacturing. Transcenta is developing a panel of nine antibody molecules for oncology and selected non-oncology indications including bone and kidney disorders.

 

Brii Biosciences

  • Headquartered in the US and China
  • Co-Founder and CEO: Zhi Hong, Ph.D.
  • Focus Area: Infectious Diseases

Brii Biosciences is a biotechnology company based in China and the United States committed to advancing therapies for infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extensive drug resistant (XDR) gram-negative infections and other illnesses, such as the central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

 

Advaccine

  • Headquartered in Shangdi, China
  • Focus Area: Vaccines

Advaccine is a clinical stage immunotherapy company pioneering novel preventive and therapeutic vaccines against infectious diseases, cancers and autoimmune diseases. The company has built a portfolio of vaccine candidates including a preventive vaccine based on a novel adjuvant targeting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in the elderly and infants, an immunotherapeutic vaccine against chronic hepatitis B (CHB), and also immunotherapeutic vaccine candidates against autoimmune diseases and various cancers.

In collaboration with Inovio, Advaccine is conducting a Phase 3 trial of a Covid-19 DNA vaccine candidate.

 

Lepu Biopharma

  • Founded in 2018, headquartered in Beijing, China
  • CEO and Chairman: Pu Zhongjie
  • Focus Area: Oncology

Lepu Biotech has several pipeline assets for precision treatment and targeted therapy for solid tumors.

 

Sirnaomics

  • Founded in 2007, headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, USA
  • Chairman and CEO: Dr. Patrick Lu
  • Focus Area: RNAi

Sirnaomics is a clinical-state RNA therapeutics biopharmaceutical company with a strong presence in both US and China through discovery and development of therapeutics for human disorders with unmet medical needs. The clinical development pipeline is focused on oncology and fibrosis indications. The core of Sirnaomics’ technology is centered on the use of RNA interference (RNAi) and a unique polypeptide nanoparticle (PNP) for delivery.

 

Recbio Technologies

  • Founded in 2011, headquartered in Taizhou, China
  • Focus Area: Vaccines

Recbio is establishing itself as a leading enterprise in sub-fields by concentrating our resources on genetically engineered vaccines for significant disease burdens, especially the novel adjuvanted vaccines.

 

Mabworks

  • Headquartered in Beijing, China
  • CEO: Dr. Feng Li
  • Focus Area: Oncology and Autoimmune

Mabworks is a Chinese clinical stage biotech company focusing on the discovery and development of antibody drugs in immunology and cancer. The company’s pipeline consists of 6 clinical-stage research drugs and 6 representative pre-clinical research drugs.

 

Adlai Nortye

Read our 2019 interview with Adlai Nortye’s CEO, Carsten Lu

  • Founded in 2004, headquartered in Hangzhou, China
  • Focus Area: Oncology

Adlai Nortye is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing new drugs in the field of oncology/immuno-oncology. They have 23 patents granted. With experience in peptide and protein drugs, they have expanded their expertise into small molecules and therapeutic antibodies.


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