HONG KONG (Reuters) - Biotechs without revenue can apply to list in Hong Kong from Monday under new rules aimed at attracting listings, mostly from China’s fast-developing market.
The move is part of a bold effort to rival New York’s Nasdaq, the biggest and best-known finance hub for biotech companies.
Companies (in alphabetical order) that have already shown interest in testing the Hong Kong market include:
Founded in 2010, Ascentage focuses on therapeutics for cancers, hepatitis B and aging-related diseases. It has built a pipeline of seven products in clinical development and 17 in total approved for clinical studies in China, the United States and Australia.
The firm counts the state-backed SDIC Fund Management and U.S. Oriza Ventures among its investors and aims to raise up to $300 million (£217.9 million).
Hangzhou-based Ascletis develops therapies for viral diseases, cancer, and fatty liver diseases. Its pipeline includes four clinical stage drug candidates, one drug candidate ready to apply for IND (investigational new drug) approval and two preclinical drug candidates.
Current investors include Goldman Sachs, the healthcare fund C-bridge Capital and the QianHai fund of funds. It is planning to raise about $500 million, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, reported.
California-based Grail is a cancer-detection start-up and will release its first product this year, a screening test for nasopharyngeal cancer - a cancer of the part of the throat behind the nose.
Investors in Grail include Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Tencent. The firm is planning to raise up to $500 million, according to IFR.
Set up in 2011, Hua Medicine is a diabetes-focused drug developer with a novel treatment in a phase 3 clinical trial that it expects to be approved in China by 2019.
Hua’s investors include the U.S. venture capital firms ARCH Venture Partners and Venrock. It is planning to raise at least $400 million.
Founded in 2011, Innovent makes biologics to treat cancer, eye disorders, auto-immune disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.
The company has a portfolio of 16 potential drugs to treat cancer and other diseases, and has seven in clinical development. It has also partnered with Eli Lilly to co-develop three cancer treatments in China and overseas.
Fidelity Investment and Temasek are among its shareholders, and it is looking to raise between $300 million and $500 million, sources said.
Shanghai Henlius Biotech
Set up in 2009, Henlius develops new drugs and biosimilars - generic versions of biologics, which are made from living cells - for cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lymphoma.
Backed by the Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, Henlius has no marketed products yet but has four biosimilar products and three innovative drugs in various clinical stages. It is planning an IPO that could raise at least $500 million, sources said.
Shanghai Tasly Pharmaceutical
Founded in 2001, Shanghai Tasly is the biopharma arm of Tasly Pharmaceutical Group, which is best known for traditional Chinese medicines.
In 2012, Shanghai Tasly launched a drug aimed at treating blood clot-induced heart attacks, known as pro-UK, in China. It is also developing more than 10 other drugs. The company is looking to raise about $1 billion, in what is likely to be the largest biotech float this year.
Reporting by Julie Zhu and Alun John in HONG KONG; Editing by Philip McClellan