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.

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO

'This is not go­ing to be good': Mod­er­na CEO Ban­cel warns of a 'ma­te­r­i­al drop' in vac­cine ef­fi­ca­cy as Omi­cron spreads

Even as public health officials remain guarded about their comments on the likelihood Omicron will escape the reach of the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines, there’s growing scientific consensus that we’re facing a variant that threatens to overwhelm the vaccine barricades that have been erected.

Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, one of the leading mRNA players whose quick vault into the markets with a highly effective vaccine created an instant multibillion-dollar market, added his voice to the rising chorus early Tuesday. According to Bancel, there will be a significant drop in efficacy when the average immune system is confronted by Omicron. The only question now is: How much?

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Philip Dormitzer, new GSK global head of vaccines R&D

Glax­o­SmithK­line poach­es Pfiz­er's vi­ral vac­cines lead in rush to cap­i­tal­ize on fu­ture of mR­NA

GlaxoSmithKline has appointed Philip Dormitzer, formerly chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s viral vaccines unit, as its newest global head of vaccines R&D, looking to leverage one of the leading minds behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s RNA collaboration that led to Covid-19 jab Comirnaty, the British drug giant said Tuesday.

Dormitzer had been with Pfizer for a little more than six years, joining up after a seven-year stint with Novartis, where he reached the role of US head of research and head of global virology for the company’s vaccines and diagnostics unit.

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In­tro­duc­ing End­points Stu­dio, a new way to ad­ver­tise with End­points-craft­ed brand­ing cam­paigns

Since our start in 2016, Endpoints has grown fast while executing our mission to cover biopharma’s most critical developments for industry pros worldwide. As readership has grown, our advertising business has too. Endpoints advertising partners support the mission and engage their desired audiences through announcements on our email and web platforms, brand recognition in our event coverage and sponsorships of Endpoints daily and weekly reports.

With on­ly burns to show in gene ther­a­py, Astel­las inks deal with AAV spe­cial­ist Dyno in push for a bet­ter cap­sid

On the hunt for a better AAV capsid for gene therapy, Eric Kelsic’s Dyno Therapeutics has set itself apart with its focus on machine learning to help speed discovery. Now, Japanese drugmaker Astellas — fresh off a slate of gene therapy burns — is taking a bet on Dyno as it looks to the future.

Astellas and Dyno will work together as part of an R&D pact to develop next-gen AAV vectors for gene therapy using Dyno’s CapsidMap platform directed at skeletal and cardiac muscle, the companies said Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, Dyno will design AAV capsids for gene therapy, while Astellas will be responsible for conducting preclinical, clinical and commercialization activities for gene therapy product candidates using the capsids.

As first Omi­cron case in US crops up, re­searchers won­der: which an­ti­bod­ies, vac­cines will hold up?

As Covid-19 drug and vaccine developers race to figure out which of their products might be hampered by the new variant, the CDC on Wednesday afternoon announced the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in the US, found in San Francisco.

The unidentified individual was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, 2021, was fully vaccinated, and had mild symptoms that the CDC described as improving. All close contacts have been contacted and have tested negative, the centers said.

Mod­er­na los­es lat­est bat­tle in key vac­cine de­liv­ery patent fight as fed­er­al ap­peal falls flat

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Wednesday rejected Moderna’s attempt to overturn key patents related to the delivery vehicle for its Covid-19 vaccine after the biotech sought to preempt a potentially risky infringement lawsuit.

For years, Moderna has been battling a tiny Pennsylvania biotech known as Arbutus over patents for a technology required to deliver its mRNA drugs and vaccines, known as lipid nanoparticles or LNP. Moderna is concerned there’s a substantial risk that Arbutus will assert the ’069 patent in an infringement suit targeting Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, particularly as Arbutus has boasted of its patent protection and refused to grant a covenant not to sue Moderna.

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Lan Huang, BeyondSpring CEO

Months af­ter shock­ing in­vestors with lung can­cer win, Be­yond­Spring's lead drug hits road­block at the FDA

BeyondSpring shocked investors in early August after its once-marginal lead drug suddenly showed a lot of promise in a common form of lung cancer. With hopes high, the FDA has now slammed the door on that drug in another indication — does that spell bad news for BeyondSpring’s Cinderella story?

The FDA issued BeyondSpring a complete response letter for its plinabulin in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, effectively shutting down the drug’s immediate chances at a marketing approval, the biotech said Wednesday.

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What's fair? New ICER re­port shows pay­ers gen­er­al­ly en­sur­ing fair ac­cess to drugs

The nonprofit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review on Wednesday released a new report highlighting the ways in which payers are generally ensuring fair access to prescription drugs, even when based on a set of criteria set by the nonprofit.

While noting the lack of transparency hindered the report’s results, ICER said that the “great majority” of payer policies in the formularies evaluated are structured in a way to support many key elements of how ICER defines “fair access.”