In­no­Care IPO over­sub­scribed 300x as Hong Kong in­vestors turned to biotech amid runoff

For­get the glob­al stock melt­down. Or at least Chi­nese biotech In­no­Care did, forg­ing ahead with a more than $250-mil­lion IPO in Hong Kong de­spite the ex­change be­ing in the midst of a King­da Ka-es­que freefall.

It worked. In­no­Care wrote in a fil­ing that re­tail in­vestors sub­scribed to 7.98 bil­lion shares – about 300 times the amount the num­ber of­fered to them, ac­cord­ing to the South Chi­na Morn­ing Post. With in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors agree­ing to chip in and buy US$164 mil­lion (HK$1.28 bil­lion) of shares, the com­pa­ny will raise $289 mil­lion (HK$2.2 bil­lion). Shares priced at the high end of an HK$8.18 to HK$8.95 range.

In­no­Care’s suc­cess was like­ly dri­ven by the same forces col­laps­ing stocks around the globe. As the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic has slowed eco­nom­ic ac­tiv­i­ty around the world and dri­ven the stock mar­ket down with the speed of a bear phys­i­cal­ly tack­ling an un­sus­pect­ing bull, in­vestors have turned to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal stocks, par­tic­u­lar­ly for those com­pa­nies who have joined in on the hunt for a coro­n­avirus treat­ment or vac­cine. In­no­Care, fo­cused on can­cer and au­toim­mune dis­or­ders, is not one of those com­pa­nies, but a lo­cal VC sug­gest­ed they still like­ly ben­e­fit­ed from the fren­zy.

“I would be cau­tious on this stock since the re­sponse could be dri­ven by short term spec­u­la­tion, and half the shares are in the hands of the cor­ner­stone in­vestors,” VC As­set Man­age­ment man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Louis Tse Ming-kwong told the Post.

Jas­mine Cui

In­no­Care has 9 pro­grams aim­ing to the best or first-in-class, but the lead pro­gram — and the re­cip­i­ent of half of the IPO’s pro­ceeds — is to ore­labru­ti­nib, a BTK in­hibitor now be­ing test­ed pre­clin­i­cal­ly or in ear­ly-stage hu­man tri­als against a long list of can­cers.

By the Post’s count, In­no­Care is the 11th com­pa­ny to list un­der Hong Kong’s biotech ex­change since it de­buted 2 years ago. Many of the oth­ers came with sim­i­lar pitch­es around au­toim­mune and can­cer. Nev­er­the­less, In­no­Care stands out for its staff, with Mer­ck vet Jas­mine Cui as CEO and pres­ti­gious aca­d­e­m­ic Yigong Shi as pres­i­dent of the sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board.

In a Phase II tri­al last year, ore­labru­ti­nib led to a re­sponse rate of 89% and a 12-month pro­gres­sion free sur­vival rate of 64% in 106 re­duced/re­frac­to­ry man­tle cell pa­tients.

Bob Nelsen at the Milken Institute Global Conference on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

ARCH chief Bob Nelsen has $1.5B to prove 2 sim­ple points: ‘We’re in the most in­no­v­a­tive time ever’ and in­vestors are stay­ing

ARCH co-founder and managing director Bob Nelsen has a well known yen for the home run swing, betting big on potentially transformative meds and tech and the biotech teams he helps bring together. He thrives and bleeds on the cutting edge. And now Nelsen and the ARCH group have debuted 2 big funds to prove that this is the time for the best of biotech to shine — deadly pandemic be damned.

Two new funds, ARCH Venture Fund X and ARCH Venture Fund X Overage, gathered a combined $1.46 billion. And that’s a record. ARCH Venture Fund IX and ARCH Venture Fund IX Overage closed in 2016 with a combined $1.1 billion. ARCH Venture Fund VIII and ARCH Venture Fund VIII Overage closed in 2014 with a combined $560 million.

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Covid-19 roundup: No­var­tis, In­cyte pitch Jakafi PhI­II to tack­le se­vere cas­es; Is coro­n­avirus spread­ing like measles?

Novartis, which has so far taken a supporting role in the global R&D campaign against Covid-19, is stepping up to launch its own clinical trial. Together with Incyte, the Swiss pharma giant will test their partnered Jakafi in patients who experience cytokine storm as a result of the coronavirus infection.

Marketed as Jakavi outside of the US, the JAK1/2 inhibitor is a blockbuster product that’s already approved for a number of cancers and graft versus host disease. Incyte noted that many Covid-19 patients with severe respiratory disease appear to have “increased activation of the JAK-STAT pathway.” Novartis added that preclinical evidence and preliminary reports form independent studies support their decision to go ahead with a Phase III.

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J&J gives pi­o­neer­ing stem cell biotech its first Big Phar­ma deal, part­ner­ing on iP­SC CAR-T and CAR-NK

Late last summer, one of the earliest stem cell therapy companies got two government decisions in the span of three weeks: The USPTO granted them a patent for iPSC-derived CAR-T cells, and then the FDA cleared them for their first-in-human CAR-NK trial.

Yesterday, the two technologies landed them an up-to $3.1 billion deal.

Fate Therapeutics and J&J announced a global collaboration that will pay Fate $100 million upfront and a trove of potential milestones to develop multiple CAR-T and CAR-NK therapies. It’s the first Big Pharma partnership Fate has announced in their 13-year existence and the largest, although at least one longtime follower thought they could have landed more.

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Drug dis­cov­ery in the age of coro­n­avirus

Developing new drugs is incredibly hard. That’s why, despite superhuman efforts from the industry, we’re still looking at 12-18 months minimum before we can realistically hope for a vaccine for Covid-19, and probably months before there’s a proven viable drug treatment.

But our increasing ability to begin to industrialize the drug discovery and development process through an engineering approach means that we have more hope for speeding up this process than ever before — and not just to defeat coronavirus, but to benefit the development of all new medicines in the future.

UP­DAT­ED: Have a new drug that promis­es to fight Covid-19? The FDA promis­es fast ac­tion but some de­vel­op­ers aren't hap­py

After providing an emergency approval to use malaria drugs against coronavirus with little actual evidence of their efficacy or safety in that setting, the FDA has already proven that it has set aside the gold standard when it comes to the pandemic. And now regulators have spelled out a new approach to speeding development that promises immediate responses in no uncertain terms — promising a program offering the ultimate high-speed pathway to Covid-19 drug approvals.

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Once fu­ri­ous over No­var­tis’ da­ta ma­nip­u­la­tion scan­dal, the FDA now says it’s noth­ing they need to take ac­tion on

Back in the BP era — Before Pandemic — the FDA ripped Novartis for its decision to keep the agency in the dark about manipulated data used in its application for Zolgensma while its marketing application for the gene therapy was under review.

Civil and criminal sanctions were being discussed, the agency noted in a rare broadside at one of the world’s largest pharma companies. Notable lawmakers cheered the angry regulators on, urging the FDA to make an example of Novartis, which fielded Zolgensma at $2.1 million — the current record for a one-off therapy.

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Covid-19 roundup: GSK, Am­gen tai­lor R&D work to fit the coro­n­avirus age; Doud­na's ge­nomics crew launch­es di­ag­nos­tic lab

You can add Amgen and GSK to the list of deep-pocket drug R&D players who are tailoring their pipeline work to fit a new age of coronavirus.

Following in the footsteps of a lineup of big players like Eli Lilly — which has suspended patient recruitment for drug studies — Amgen and GSK have opted to take a more tailored approach. Amgen is intent on circling the wagons around key studies that are already fully enrolled, and GSK has the red light on new studies while the pandemic plays out.

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In a stun­ning set­back, Amarin los­es big patent fight over Vas­cepa IP. And its high-fly­ing stock crash­es to earth

Amarin’s shares $AMRN were blitzed Monday evening, losing billions in value as reports spread that the company had lost its high-profile effort to keep its Vascepa patents protected from generic drugmakers.

Amarin had been fighting to keep key patents under lock and key — and away from generic rivals — for another 10 years, but District Court Judge Miranda Du in Las Vegas ruled against the biotech. She ruled that:
(A)ll the Asserted Claims are invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C.§ 103. Thus, the Court finds in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s remaining infringementclaim, and in their favor on their counterclaims asserting the invalidity of the AssertedClaims under 35 U.S.C. § 103.

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Noubar Afeyan, Flagship

Step­ping out along­side ARCH's record raise, Flag­ship adds a $1.1B mon­ster fund of its own

ARCH’s unveiling this morning of 2 new funds bulging with $1.5 billion in cash for biotech startups was just the first round of today’s venture news.

Right on its heels we have another monster fund debuting at Flagship Pioneering, another big venture group known for making huge bets on cutting-edge tech — the kind it brews up in its labs.

And this one weighs in at $1.1 billion, which will operate in tandem with the $1.1 billion in funds Flagship rolled out last year.

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