Alphamab Oncology rounds out HKEX's second biotech IPO year with $230M raise and high local interest
Alphamab Oncology has inspired a surge of local interest in what will likely be the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s last biotech run of the year, pricing its IPO on the high end of the range and raising over $230 million (HK$1.83 billion).
After rejigging the offering structure and making up to 50% available for enthusiastic local investors, the biotech sold 179.4 million shares at $1.31 (HK$10.2) and saw its stock rise to $1.77 ($13.8) on the first day of trading.
CEO Ting Xu told reporters he expects to file for approval of their lead PD-L1 drug at China’s National Medical Products Administration in H2 2020, and the decision could come by the end of the year in the most ideal scenario.
If approved, the subcutaneous injection of KN035 (envafolimab) would become the second PD-L1 agent to follow five PD-1 drugs on the market: Merck’s Keytruda, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, Junshi’s Tuoyi, Innovent’s Tyvyt and Jiangsu Hengrui’s camrelizumab. AstraZeneca has just clinched an OK for Imfinzi.
Among them, Tyvyt — which Innovent is partnered with Eli Lilly on — recently earned a coveted spot on the national reimbursement list by slashing its price to $403 (RMB2843) per 100mg, down 64% from its original price, which is already much lower than its foreign counterparts.
There are profits to be made even at a similar price level, Xu assured reporters.
But even as the checkpoint agents pile on, Alphamab’s real ambition lies in the bispecifics field, where Xu has plowed for six years.
Two of Alphamab’s bispecifics are now in Phase II testing, including KN046 (PD-L1/CTLA4) and KN026 (HER2). For the latter, Xu is plotting three routes of attack: a head-to-head with Herceptin in frontline breast cancer; trials in patients with low expression or resistance to Herceptin; and a biomarker-driven approach.
About half of the IPO funds will go toward clinical development and potential commercialization of KN046, with a BLA planned for 2021.
The new round of cash will also fund an ongoing Phase II study of CD80-targeting immunomodulator KN019 for autoimmune conditions.
Matthews Funds, OrbiMed, Greenwoods, MSAL, Lake Bleu Prime, Luye Pharma and Taikang Life chimed in as cornerstone investors.