In HKEX's first test in 2019, CStone seeks up to $304M in IPO for­tune

As the Nas­daq ush­ered in its first biotech uni­corns of 2019 with the list­ings of Alec­tor and Gos­samer, CStone is kick­ing things off at the Hong Kong Stock Ex­change with a po­ten­tial $304 mil­lion (HK$2.39 bil­lion) price tag on its IPO.

At the top of the range, each of the 186 mil­lion CStone shares would sell at $1.63 (HK$12.8). That’s down 23% from its orig­i­nal tar­get of $400 mil­lion ($HK$3.1 bil­lion), Caix­in re­port­ed. While the val­u­a­tion is un­clear, the com­pa­ny dis­closed in its prospec­tus that it was val­ued at $1.05 bil­lion in its most re­cent ven­ture round.

Backed by some of the flashiest names in biotech in­clud­ing ARCH, WuXi and Sin­ga­pore’s GIC, and helmed by Sanofi vet Frank Jiang, CStone had boast­ed of pock­et­ing the largest Se­ries B round — $260 mil­lion — in the his­to­ry of Chi­nese bio­phar­ma. And it’s put the mon­ey to work, hav­ing burned through $148 mil­lion by last Sep­tem­ber, do­ing some heavy R&D lift­ing for its I/O pipeline, li­cens­ing com­mer­cial rights to Agios’ AML drug and poach­ing a Gold­man Sachs banker to be its CFO.

GIC has agreed to be a cor­ner­stone in­vestor along­side Boyu Cap­i­tal, In­dus Funds and Is­hana Cap­i­tal, pledg­ing a to­tal of $95 mil­lion, which would trans­late to 30%-plus of the to­tal of­fer­ing and a com­bined 6% stake in CStone.

Frank Jiang

It’s now late-stage crunch time, with the spot­light on its PD-L1 in­hibitor CS1001. Catch­ing up with the first wave of home­grown check­points to hit the Chi­nese mar­ket — fol­low­ing ap­provals for In­novent and Jun­shi, which both went pub­lic on the HKEX re­cent­ly — CStone is start­ing out with small­er in­di­ca­tions like clas­si­cal Hodgkin’s lym­phoma and nat­ur­al killer T cell lym­phoma, with plans to sub­mit NDAs in H2 2019 and H1 2020, re­spec­tive­ly.

Phase III tri­als in non-small cell lung can­cer, gas­tric can­cer and he­pa­to­cel­lu­lar car­ci­no­ma will com­mence some time be­fore those sub­mis­sions, the com­pa­ny writes in its fil­ing.

CStone’s de­but on Feb­ru­ary 26 (one week af­ter it prices) will be close­ly watched as in­vestors find out whether its stock will take a quick plunge like As­cle­tis’ and BeiGene’s — both have yet to re­cov­er — or en­joy the kind of cheer­ful ral­ly Jun­shi and In­novent saw late last year.

Al­most a year af­ter the HKEX opened up to pre-rev­enue biotechs, the ju­ry is still out.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

(Image: Associated Press)

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

(Image: Associated Press)

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

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.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 65,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.