How hot is Hong Kong's biotech IPO mar­ket? Two biotechs just raised $800M to­tal

A pair of Chi­nese biotechs have col­lec­tive­ly hauled in close to $800 mil­lion up­on their pub­lic de­buts in Hong Kong, tuck­ing two hefty en­trants to the steady stream of HKEX IPOs. Ever­est Med­i­cines raised $423 mil­lion to bankroll its pipeline of in-li­censed drugs, while Genor Bio­phar­ma is pour­ing its $371 mil­lion pro­ceeds in­to the can­cer and au­toim­mune pipeline.

Both had closed megarounds in June just be­fore ap­ply­ing for a list­ing, high­light­ing the glob­al na­ture of the cur­rent biotech boom. Hill­house played a big role in both crossover fi­nanc­ings, as Ever­est reaped $310 mil­lion and Genor grabbed $160 mil­lion.

The most high-pro­file as­set in Ever­est’s port­fo­lio at the mo­ment is Trodelvy, the crown jew­el of Gilead’s $21 bil­lion buy­out of Im­munomedics. The com­pa­ny set its eyes on the an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gate long be­fore Gilead did, strik­ing a land­mark deal to in-li­cense a ther­a­py that had just been re­ject­ed by the FDA.

Can­cer is just one of many ar­eas Ever­est is build­ing around.

With help from its deep-pock­et­ed and well-con­nect­ed founders at C-Bridge Cap­i­tal, the biotech brought in top ex­ecs as well as a wide range of pro­grams in im­munol­o­gy, car­dio-re­nal and in­fec­tious dis­eases.

The com­pa­ny said the IPO cash will fund de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of its four an­chor prod­ucts all in piv­otal tri­als — oth­er planned clin­i­cal work and more BD ac­tiv­i­ties. It priced at $7.10 (HK$55) per share.

For Genor, the cash in­fu­sion push­es them over the fin­ish line with its in-house breast can­cer drug co­prelotam­ab, for which Phase III stud­ies are com­plete and an NDA is planned for lat­er this year.

“We aim to be a lead­ing breast can­cer ther­a­pies provider among do­mes­tic firms in three to five years,” CEO Guo Feng told the South Chi­na Morn­ing Post. “We are build­ing a sales team for mul­ti­ple drug can­di­dates in this cat­e­go­ry, and our su­pe­ri­or man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties mean we can make a good prof­it even in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.”

Af­ter that, he has al­so lined up a slate of an­ti­bod­ies against some of the best-known tar­gets in on­col­o­gy such as PD-1 and VEGF. Then there’s a new re­search lab in San Fran­cis­co ded­i­cat­ed to gen­er­at­ing bis­pecifics.

Genor priced at $3.10 (HK$24) a pop to bring in sub­stan­tial­ly more than $200 mil­lion, which it was re­port­ed­ly eye­ing last year be­fore bring­ing in the Se­ries B

In his­toric Covid-19 ad­comm, vac­cine ex­perts de­bate a sea of ques­tions — but of­fer no clear an­swers

The most widely anticipated and perhaps most widely watched meeting in the FDA’s 113-year history ended late Thursday night with a score of questions and very few answers.

For nearly 9 hours, 18 different outside experts listened to public health agencies and foundations present how the United States’ Covid-19 vaccine program developed through October, and they debated where it should go from there: Were companies testing the right metrics in their massive trials? How long should they track patients before declaring a vaccine safe or effective? Should a vaccine, once authorized, be given to the volunteers in the placebo arm of a trial?

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Adam Koppel and Jeffrey Schwartz, Bain

Bain ex­ecs Adam Kop­pel and Jef­frey Schwartz line up $125M for their first blank check deal as Wall Street con­tin­ues to em­brace biotech

Adam Koppel and Jeffrey Schwartz have jumped into the blank check game, raising $125 million for a stock listing in search of a company.

Their SPAC, BCLS Acquisition Corp, raised $125 million this week, with a line on $25 million more as it scouts for a biotech in search of money and a place on Wall Street.

The two principals at Bain Life Sciences have been on a romp since they set up the Bain operation 4 years ago. Their S-1 spells out a track record of 22 deals totaling $650 million for the life sciences group, which led to 9 IPOs.

Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO (via YouTube)

UP­DAT­ED: Bio­gen spot­lights a pair of painful pipeline set­backs as ad­u­canum­ab show­down looms at the FDA

Biogen has flagged a pair of setbacks in the pipeline, spotlighting the final failure for a one-time top MS prospect while scrapping a gene therapy for SMA after the IND was put on hold due to toxicity.

Both failures will raise the stakes even higher on aducanumab, the Alzheimer’s drug that Biogen is betting the ranch on, determined to pursue an FDA OK despite significant skepticism they can make it with mixed results and a reliance on post hoc data mining. And the failures are being reported as Biogen was forced to cut its profit forecast for 2020 as a generic rival started to erode their big franchise drug.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: FDA gives As­traZeneca the thumbs-up to restart PhI­II Covid-19 vac­cine tri­als, and J&J is prepar­ing to re­sume its study

Several countries had restarted their portions of AstraZeneca’s global Phase III Covid-19 vaccine trial after the study was paused worldwide in early September, but the US notably stayed on the sidelines — until now. Friday afternoon the pharma giant announced the all clear from US regulators. And on top of that, J&J announced Friday evening that it’s preparing to resume its own Phase III vaccine trial.

Adrian Gottschalk, Foghorn CEO (Foghorn)

Foghorn hits Nas­daq in $120M de­but as the biotech IPO boom shows no sign of slow­ing

It’s been a record year for biotech IPOs, and the execs at Nasdaq would like nothing better than to see that momentum continue into the first half of next year.

Since January, 72 biotech and biopharma companies have hit Wall Street, according to Nasdaq head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe, together raising $13.2 billion.

The latest is Flagship’s Foghorn Therapeutics, which priced its shares last night at $16 apiece, the midpoint of a $15 to $17 range. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech — which initially filed for a $100 million raise on Oct. 2 — is netting $120 million from a 7.5 million-share offering. The proceeds will go right into its gene traffic control platform, including two lead preclinical oncology candidates.

Ul­tragenyx in­jects $40M to grab Solid's mi­crody­s­trophin trans­gene — while side­step­ping the AAV9 vec­tor that stirred up safe­ty fears

Since before Ilan Ganot started Solid Bio to develop a gene therapy for kids like his son, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Ultragenyx CEO Emil Kakkis has been watching and advising the former investment banker as he navigated the deep waters of drug development.

Just as Solid is getting back up on its feet after a yearlong clinical hold, Kakkis has decided to jump in for a formal alliance.

With a $40 million upfront, Ultragenyx is grabbing 14.45% of Solid’s shares $SLDB and the rights to its microdystrophin construct for use in combination with AAV8 vectors. Solid’s lead program, which utilizes AAV9, remains unaffected. The company also retains rights to other applications of its transgene.

A top drug pro­gram at Bay­er clears a high bar for CKD — open­ing the door to an FDA pitch

Over the past 4 years, Bayer has been steering a major trial through a pivotal program to see if their drug finerenone could slow down the pace of chronic kidney disease in patients suffering from both CKD as well as Type 2 diabetes.

Today, their team jumped on a virtual meeting hosted by the American Society of Nephrology to offer a solid set of pivotal data to demonstrate that the drug can delay dialysis or a kidney replacement as well as cardio disease, while also adding some worrying signs of hyperkalemia among the patients taking the drug. And they’re hustling it straight to regulators in search of an approval for kidney disease and cardio patients — one of the toughest challenges in the book, as demonstrated by repeated past failures.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Covid-19 roundup: An mR­NA play­er gets a boost out of the lat­est round of an­i­mal da­ta; Phase­Bio pulls the plug on treat­ment tri­al

The big tell for CureVac $CVAC is coming up with a looming early-stage readout on their mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in the clinic. But for now they’ll make do with an upbeat assessment on the preclinical animal data they used to get into the clinic.

Researchers for the German biotech say they got the high antibody titers and T cell activation they were looking for, lining up a hamster challenge to demonstrate — in a simple model — that the vaccine could protect the furry creatures. Like the other mRNA vaccines, the drug sends instructions to spur cells to decorate themselves with the distinctive spike on the virus to elicit an immune response.

Chi­nese in­vestors wa­ger $105M on an IPO-bound biotech look­ing to push RNAi as main­stream can­cer ther­a­py

Shortly after Sirnaomics brought in a $47 million Series C for its small interfering RNA pipeline last year, Patrick Lu — the founder, president and CEO — was asked to outline the scientific advances that will be necessary to make better drugs out of RNA tech.

“The next step in the evolution of RNAi as a leading therapeutic will be the ability to safely target organs outside the liver such as lung, brain, etc,” he had offered. “This will revolutionize disease treatments if the industry can demonstrate similar data sets for non-liver targets as we have seen in liver-based diseases.”