China, IPOs

Forget Nasdaq. China’s biotechs with blockbuster IPO dreams are switching focus to Hong Kong

On Monday, the Hong Kong exchange is set to open its doors and listings to companies with no revenue, and a lineup of biotech unicorns are paying rapt attention.

This morning Reuters is reporting that two big Chinese upstarts — Innovent Biologics and Ascentage Pharma — have switched focus from New York to the Hong Kong bourse, looking to raise about $800 million.

Yang Dajun

“We were already ready to file (an IPO application) in the United States, but we have shifted to Hong Kong for listing as the HKEX opens its doors to us,” Ascentage chairman Yang Dajun told Reuters. “This is great news for biotech firms which are based in China and want to tap more Chinese and Asian investors.”

Sources told the news wire that Innovent has its sights set on a $300 million to $500 million raise, with Ascentage lining up $300 million.

They’re joining a queue that already includes some big names in the booming Chinese biotech scene, replacing Nasdaq as the go-to place for new listings.

Biotech, though, comes with some extraordinary risks. And there’s been plenty of fretting whether the unschooled investors who flock to Hong Kong now will be taken for a ride during a frenzy of new listings. These investors, they suggest, aren’t as mature as US investors — though some might question that as well after a lengthy stretch where the biotech IPO window has been wide open.


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