BeiGene bags a stag­ger­ing $903M IPO on the HKEX — and still man­ages to spark some ner­vous fret­ting

BeiGene’s sec­ondary IPO on the Hong Kong ex­change says a lot about the sky-high ex­pec­ta­tions of the biotechs lin­ing up to cash in there un­der more lib­er­al list­ing rules.

The biotech raised $903 mil­lion, and that was on the low end of the range.

HKEX is com­mand­ing at­ten­tion from bio­phar­ma for a sec­ond day with the news that BeiGene’s IPO fell shy of the $1 bil­lion ceil­ing it was reach­ing for.

BeiGene’s sec­ondary IPO, as re­port­ed by Reuters, comes as biotechs join the queue for a bo­nan­za of wind­fall rais­es in Hong Kong. The first of them, As­cle­tis Phar­ma, be­gan trad­ing Wednes­day af­ter pock­et­ing $400 mil­lion and closed flat.

By every ac­count, BeiGene’s haul to­day is stag­ger­ing. BeiGene’s 2016 Nas­daq de­but $BGNE brought home $158 mil­lion, and the largest biotech IPO on Nas­daq so far this year went to Ru­bius at $241 mil­lion.

The list­ing price, though, does rep­re­sent a dis­count of 1.6% against its clos­ing price in the US on Wednes­day. Quot­ing bro­kers, South Chi­na Morn­ing Post ex­plained that Chi­na’s re­cent fake vac­cine scan­dal, adding to poor mar­ket sen­ti­ment in gen­er­al, is to blame for the luke­warm re­tail re­sponse that caused the “huge set­back.”

“The re­tail in­vestors are more short-term mar­ket dri­ven,” Joseph Tong of Mor­ton Se­cu­ri­ties told the SCMP. “The in­sti­tu­tion­al side will be longer term and judge it on com­pa­ny fun­da­men­tal val­ues.”

Pri­or to the pub­lic launch, Bei­jing-based BeiGene se­cured four cor­ner­stone in­vestors on both sides of the Pa­cif­ic to buy 19.8 mil­lion shares out of the 65.5 mil­lion new shares, or 8.55% of its en­larged share cap­i­tal, it was sell­ing. They in­clude New York-based hedge fund Bak­er Bros Ad­vi­sors, Sin­ga­pore’s sov­er­eign wealth fund GIC, and two of Chi­na’s most in­flu­en­tial biotech VCs, Hill­house Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment and Al­ly Bridge.

Aside from the price and the list of mar­quee cor­ner­stone back­ers, BeiGene’s IPO jour­ney was al­so re­mark­able for its speed. While it was un­clear when BeiGene first sub­mit­ted its ap­pli­ca­tion for the dual list­ing — word on the street was around mid-June — its meet­ing with the HKEX list­ing com­mit­tee took place less than two weeks ago. Its stock is slat­ed to go live on Au­gust 8.

That will cer­tain­ly mark an­oth­er mile­stone for HKEX as it con­tin­ues to brand it­self as the ide­al des­ti­na­tion for Chi­nese biotech IPOs. Af­ter­all, the im­mense suc­cess that BeiGene had en­joyed on Nas­daq was long seen as an im­pe­tus for Hong Kong to change its rules in the first place.

In its fil­ing, BeiGene wrote that it be­lieves it’s “well po­si­tioned to cap­ture the sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties in Chi­na” with its im­muno-on­col­o­gy drugs zanubru­ti­nib, tislelizum­ab and pami­parib, all of which would ben­e­fit from the raise, from clin­i­cal tri­als to reg­is­tra­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion in both Chi­na and the US.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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The Advance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Andrew Harnik, AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Gilead leas­es part­ner rights to TIG­IT, PD-1 in a $2B deal with Ar­cus. Now comes the hard part

Gilead CEO Dan O’Day has brokered his way to a PD-1 and lined up a front row seat in the TIGIT arena, inking a deal worth close to $2 billion to align the big biotech closely with Terry Rosen’s Arcus. And $375 million of that comes upfront, with cash for the buy-in plus equity, along with $400 million for R&D and $1.22 billion in reserve to cover opt-in payments and milestones..

Hotly rumored for weeks, the 2 players have formalized a 10-year alliance that starts with rights to the PD-1, zimberelimab. O’Day also has first dibs on TIGIT and 2 other leading programs, agreeing to an opt-in fee ranging from $200 million to $275 million on each. There’s $500 million in potential TIGIT milestones on US regulatory events — likely capped by an approval — if Gilead partners on it and the stars align on the data. And there’s another $150 million opt-in payments for the rest of the Arcus pipeline.

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Roger Perlmutter, Merck R&D chief (YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Backed by BAR­DA, Mer­ck jumps in­to Covid-19: buy­ing out a vac­cine, part­ner­ing on an­oth­er and adding an­tivi­ral to the mix

Merck execs are making a triple play in a sudden leap into the R&D campaign against Covid-19. And they have more BARDA cash backing them up on the move.

Tuesday morning the pharma giant simultaneously announced plans to buy an Austrian biotech that has been working on a preclinical vaccine candidate, added a collaboration on another vaccine with the nonprofit IAVI and inked a deal with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics on an early-stage antiviral.

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Bryan Roberts, Venrock

Ven­rock sur­vey shows grow­ing recog­ni­tion of coro­n­avirus toll, wan­ing con­fi­dence in ar­rival of vac­cines and treat­ments

When Venrock partner Bryan Roberts went to check the results from their annual survey of healthcare leaders, what he found was an imprint of the pandemic’s slow arrival in America.

The venture firm had sent their form out to hundreds of insurance and health tech executives, investors, officials and academics on February 24 and gave them two weeks to fill it out. No Americans had died at that point but the coronavirus had become enough of a global crisis that they included two questions about the virus, including “Total U.S. deaths in 2020 from the novel coronavirus will be:”.

As biotech IPOs siz­zle on vir­tu­al Wall Street, 3 new play­ers roll the dice on meg­a­money gam­bles top­ping $325M

Back in early January when I interviewed Generation Bio CEO Geoff McDonough on his $110 million mega-raise, he was thinking in terms of taking another 12 to 18 months to get into the clinic and then filing an IPO. They were, after all, still preclinical after 4 years in the lab.

But with investors still clearly focused on biotech during the pandemic, a lot of things are going faster now. Including IPOing, which is sizzling for the right companies.

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Covid-19 roundup: Buoyed by soar­ing shares, No­vavax inks a $167M deal to buy Covid-19 vac­cine-mak­ing fa­cil­i­ty; France cools on hy­drox­y­chloro­quine

The pandemic has offered the best news Novavax has had in years. Its stock price is trading at 7x the pre-panic levels with a Covid-19 vaccine in the mix, as investors buy anything that moves in that field, and they’re flush to carve out their own pathway on the manufacturing front.

Wednesday morning Novavax reported that they are spending $167 million on the Czech-based Praha Vaccines, bagging a manufacturing facility along the way.

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Bris­tol My­ers Squibb fi­nal­ly gets in the front­line NSCLC game dom­i­nat­ed by Mer­ck, adding a sec­ond Op­di­vo/Yer­voy-based op­tion

Bristol Myers Squibb may be trailing Merck and Roche in the checkpoint race to treat frontline cases of non-small cell lung cancer, but as it does, it makes sure to bring its best feet forward.

Just days after scoring a landmark NSCLC approval for Opdivo and Yervoy alone for PD-L1 positive patients, the company said the FDA has also OK’d using the two agents with a limited course of chemo regardless of the biomarker status.

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Fabrice Chouraqui, Cellarity CEO-partner (LinkedIn)

Drug de­vel­op­er, Big Phar­ma com­mer­cial ex­ec, now an up­start biotech chief — Fab­rice Chouraqui is ready to try some­thing new as a ‘CEO-part­ner’ at Flag­ship

Fabrice Chouraqui’s career has taken some big twists along his life journey. He got his PharmD at Université Paris Descartes and jumped into the drug development game for a bit. Then he took a sharp turn and went back to school to get his MBA at Insead before returning to pharma on the commercial side.

Twenty years later, after steadily rising through the ranks and journeying the globe to nab a top job as president of US pharma for the Basel-based Novartis, Chouraqui exited in another career switch. And now he’s headed into a hybrid position as a CEO-partner at Flagship, where he’ll take a shot at leading Cellarity — one of the VC’s latest paradigm-changing companies of the groundbreaking model that aspires to deliver a new platform to the world of drug R&D.