China, IPOs

Innovent to seek $400M-plus on Hong Kong IPO, reports say; will it revive biotech’s fortunes on HKEX?

With a clear goal to lead the first biosimilar wave in China while giving a go at new drug innovation, Innovent Biologics has been raising impressive sums of cash in the past couple of years, setting some domestic records along the way. And now, it’s looking poised to ride that momentum all the way to the top of Hong Kong’s stock exchange.

Michael Yu

Reports are emerging that the Shanghai-based drugmaker, which is scheduled to price its IPO on October 23, aims to raise between $400 million to $500 million. Reuters’ sources put the figure at $422 million — possibly making it the biggest public debut of any biotech since they have been allowed onto Hong Kong’s market this April.

Ascletis previously stood on top of that list — albeit still a short one — at $400 million, and Hua Medicine followed up with a $110.5 million raise. Notably, Nasdaq-listed BeiGene bagged $903 million but it was through a secondary listing.

Strong support from cornerstone investors has boosted Innovent’s valuation to around $2 billion.

The group, comprising Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, Sequoia Capital China, Shanghai-based Greenwoods Investment, Hong Kong-based asset management company Value Partners and American financial services company Capital Group, are accounting for 50% to 60% of the IPO, according to Chinese source Xueqiu Finance.

Reuters added that Innovent has set a price range of $1.59 to $1.79 (HK$12.5-HK$14).

In its filings, Innovent highlighted sintilimab — an Eli-Lilly partnered PD-1 inhibitor currently under priority review in China — as the star of the pipeline. The new infusion of cash will continue to fund the trials, registration and commercialization legwork for that and other assets in the pipeline, including three blockbuster copycats — biosimilars of Avastin, Rituxan and Humira.

As one of the earlier biotech unicorns in China, founded and helmed by Michael Yu, Innovent and its IPO plans have been followed closely. Given the rocky terrain its predecessors have found themselves in — Ascletis is now trading at 43% of its debut price — Innovent’s stock will surely come under the spotlight once it goes live at the end of this month.


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