Chi­nese drug de­vel­op­ers are seek­ing IPOs in Hong Kong

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Crys­tal Tse and Vinicy Chan

TWO MORE CHI­NESE drug de­vel­op­ers are seek­ing ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ings (IPOs) in Hong Kong, adding to the grow­ing wave of biotech firms tak­ing ad­van­tage of the city’s new list­ing rules.

Suzhou Kin­tor Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Fron­tier Biotech­nolo­gies are plan­ning Hong Kong stock of­fer­ings that could each raise about $300 mil­lion (R4.2 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter. The com­pa­nies could list as soon as this year, the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the in­for­ma­tion is pri­vate.

As­cle­tis Pharma was the first biotech firm to list in Hong Kong af­ter the stock ex­change in­tro­duced new rules that al­lowed IPOs from un­prof­itable com­pa­nies from the sec­tor. Can­cer-treat­ment de­vel­oper In­novent Bi­o­log­ics and US-based Stealth BioTher­a­peu­tics are among the biotech firms that have filed list­ing ap­pli­ca­tions since the rule change.

Shares of As­cle­tis and Chi­nese drug­maker BeiGene, which com­pleted a sec­ondary list­ing in the city this week, are both trad­ing be­low their of­fer prices.

List­ing prepa­ra­tions for Fron­tier and Kin­tor are at an early stage, and de­tails of the po­ten­tial of­fer­ings could change, the peo­ple said. A Hong Kong-based ex­ter­nal rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Kin­tor said she couldn’t im­me­di­ately com­ment, while Fron­tier didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Kin­tor fo­cuses on treat­ments for can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases. The com­pany re­cently hired Eugene Huang, a for­mer Jef­feries Fi­nan­cial Group re­search an­a­lyst, as its chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer. In June, it delisted from China’s Na­tional Eq­ui­ties Ex­change and Quo­ta­tions, an over-the-counter mar­ket known as the New Third Board.

Nan­jing-based Fron­tier, whose back­ers in­clude Huaxin Cen­tury In­vest­ment Group and Shen­zhen Capital Group, is a clin­i­cal-stage drug de­vel­oper that fo­cuses on HIV treat­ments.

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