China, IPOs

Hua Medicine plans to join trendy Hong Kong IPO club, pitching an offering of up to $400M — reports

A diabetes drug maker that has attracted investment from Arch Venture Partners, Venrock and WuXi AppTec is the latest Chinese company planning an IPO in Hong Kong.

Li Chen

Hua Medicine is expecting to raise $300 million to $400 million in the public offering, according to Bloomberg and Reuters, which both reported the news but cited different numbers. Reuters added that this will happen in the second half of 2018.

The Shanghai-based company first floated the idea of an IPO back in January, a month after it recruited investment banker George Lin to become its CFO.

Hua’s lead drug candidate, dorzagliatin, helps type 2 diabetes patients by working on an enzyme that acts as a “glucose sensor,” regulating the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. The oral drug is in two Phase III studies in China.

CEO Li Chen — who previously worked for Roche’s China operations as CSO — told South China Morning Post that he sees Hua bringing the product to market by 2020, burning through $200 million along the way.

The reports follow news about Shanghai Tasly Pharmaceutical earlier this week, which is said to be working towards a $1 billion IPO. Both, in turn, feeds into a general optimism about Hong Kong’s stock exchange after regulators announced they now welcome pre-revenue biotechs to list — something that has had Beijing regulators somewhat concerned.

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