How about a $477M biotech IPO amid Hong Kong protests? Hen­lius will find out

A third month of protests in Hong Kong is not stop­ping Shang­hai Hen­lius Biotech’s push to get list­ed on its stock ex­change.

The $477 mil­lion IPO bid marks the first big test for HKEX’s nascent biotech cor­ner since the city be­came en­gulfed in po­lit­i­cal tur­moil over a now with­drawn ex­tra­di­tion bill and sub­se­quent po­lice bru­tal­i­ty. Bloomberg has pre­vi­ous­ly re­port­ed that the com­pa­ny was eye­ing as much as $600 mil­lion.

While sev­er­al biotech play­ers — in­clud­ing Al­pham­ab, SinoMab and Tasly Bio­phar­ma — have sent in IPO ap­pli­ca­tions over the sum­mer, the last raise hap­pened in ear­ly June just days be­fore a mil­lion-strong march kicked off the on­go­ing un­rest. Han­soh, a fast-grow­ing phar­ma pow­er­house, har­nessed a $1 bil­lion wind­fall.

Hen­lius could be look­ing at a val­u­a­tion be­tween $3 bil­lion to $3.5 bil­lion, Reuters re­port­ed. Ac­cord­ing to a term sheet re­viewed by the newswire, four cor­ner­stone in­vestors have put down $140 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a $90 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from Qatar In­vest­ment Au­thor­i­ty.

Hen­lius is al­so float­ing its pub­lic de­but just as the HKEX made a sur­prise pro­pos­al to merge with the Lon­don Stock Ex­change for £30 bil­lion ($36.6 bil­lion).

“They are clear­ly push­ing to be­come the pre­mier ex­change out­side the US and it is seem­ing more cred­i­ble,” a chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer with a US as­set man­ag­er told the Fi­nan­cial Times.

When the Hong Kong bourse first opened its doors to pre-rev­enue biotechs last year in an ap­par­ent ef­fort to be­come the Nas­daq for Chi­nese drug de­vel­op­ers, Hen­lius quick­ly sur­faced as an ear­ly be­liev­er that could be in­ter­est­ed in an IPO. Con­ceived as a joint ven­ture of Fo­s­un and Hen­lius to fo­cus ini­tial­ly on biosim­i­lars, the team has se­cured ap­proval to mar­ket a MabThera/Rit­ux­an copy­cat in Chi­na, with knock­offs of Her­ceptin and Hu­mi­ra to fol­low.

Hen­lius first knocked on HKEX doors last De­cem­ber but their fil­ing has since lapsed. They re­filed the IPO in Ju­ly.

UP­DAT­ED: Roche bags 'break­through' an­ti-fi­bro­sis drug in $1.4B biotech buy­out deal

Roche is snapping up a “breakthrough” anti-fibrotic drug in a $1.4 billion buyout.

The pharma giant announced Friday that it is acquiring Promedior, primarily to get its hands on PRM-151, a recombinant form of human pentraxin-2 (PTX-2) protein that has nailed down mid-stage clinical data on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and demonstrating its potential for a range of fibrotic conditions.

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Amarin emerges from an ex­pert pan­el re­view with a clear en­dorse­ment for Vas­cepa and high odds of suc­cess when the FDA weighs in for­mal­ly

Several FDA experts who gathered Thursday to consider the landmark approval of Vascepa to reduce cardio events in an at-risk population voiced their unease about various aspects of the efficacy and safety data, or ultimately the population it should be used to treat. But the overwhelming belief that the data pointed to the drug’s benefit and clearly outweighed risks carried the day for Amarin.

The panel voted unanimously (16 to 0) to support the company’s positive data presentation — backing an OK for expanding the label to include reducing cardio risk. The vote points Amarin $AMRN down a short path to a formal decision by the FDA, with the odds heavily in its favor. Chances are the rest of the questions about the future of this drug will be hashed out in the label’s small print.

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Federal Trade Commission commissioner Rohit Chopra testifies on Capitol Hill (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

FTC clears Bris­tol-My­ers’ $74B deal to buy Cel­gene — but Dems sig­nal a po­ten­tial hard shift against Big Phar­ma M&A

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s record $74 billion takeover of Celgene is a done deal. And it will all be over — except for the lingering complaints from die-hard Celgene investors — on Wednesday.

Like much else that’s going on in Washington these days, the vote among the 5 FTC commissioners split along party lines, with the 3 Republicans voting to clear the way and the 2 Democrats steamed over what they see as a major M&A move that will lessen competition and innovation. And that split has big implications for the M&A side of the business if the Dems take the White House in 2020.

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No­var­tis scores its lat­est FDA OK — this time for a new sick­le cell dis­ease drug picked up in a $665M deal

Novartis’ decision to buy Oklahoma-based biotech Selexys 3 years ago for up to $665 million has paid off with an FDA approval today.

Blessed with the FDA’s breakthrough drug designation for a speedy review, the pharma giant has pinned down an approval for crizanlizumab, a new therapy designed to reduce the frequency of painful incidents of vaso-occlusive crises among sickle cell disease patients 16 or older.

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No­var­tis spin­out’s first an­ti-ag­ing PhI­II is a flop, so now they’ll turn to Parkin­son’s chal­lenge as shares wilt

Novartis spinout resTORbio is grappling with the collapse of its lead clinical program this morning — an anti-aging R&D failure that will badly damage their rep in the field.

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BeiGene CEO John Oyler at an Endpoints event in Shanghai, October 2018 (Credit: Endpoints News/PharmCube)

UP­DAT­ED: In a first, FDA green-lights use of a Chi­nese built can­cer ther­a­py — and more are com­ing

Weeks after Amgen took a $2.7 billion stake in BeiGene, the Beijing-based biotech has secured its first-ever FDA approval for zanubrutinib, a BTK inhibitor, months ahead of schedule.

BeiGene’s drug, branded as Brukinsa, has secured accelerated approval for adult patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) — a typically aggressive, rare, form of blood cancer — who have received at least one prior therapy.

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What does $62B buy you these days? A lot, says Take­da ex­ecs as the phar­ma play­er promis­es a block­buster R&D fu­ture

First comes the $62 billion buyout. Then comes the asset auction and reorganization to pay down debt. Now comes the detailed pledge of a bigger, brighter future in drug development.

That’s where Takeda finds itself on R&D day today, about 11 months after closing on their Shire acquisition. R&D chief Andy Plump is joining CEO Christophe Weber and other top members of the team to outline a new set of priorities in the greatly expanded pipeline at Takeda, which has jumped into the top ranks of the world’s pharma giants in the wake of the Shire deal.

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GSK's asth­ma bi­o­log­ic Nu­cala scores in rare blood dis­or­der study

GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Nucala, which received a resounding FDA rejection for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) last year, has shown promise in a rare blood disorder.

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Mer­ck buys a fledg­ling neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive biotech spawned by an old GSK dis­cov­ery al­liance. What’s up with that?

Avalon Ventures chief Jay Lichter has a well-known yen for drug development programs picked up in academia. And what he found in Haoxing Xu’s lab at the University of Michigan pricked his interest enough to launch one of his umbrella biotechs in San Diego.

Xu’s work laid the foundation for Avalon to launch Calporta, which has been working on finding small molecule agonists of TRPML1 (transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily, member 1) for lysosomal storage disorders. And that pathway, they believe, points to new approaches on major market neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s.

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