One day after Hong Kong’s stock exchange scored its first pre-revenue IPO application, Shanghai Stock Exchange got its own time in the limelight as global CRO WuXi AppTec hauled in $354 million (RMB2.3 billion) by going public in Shanghai.
While the final amount fell short of the $900 million cited in its filing, WuXi’s shares shot up immediately after they became available, surging 44% to $4.89 (RMB31.1) from the IPO price of RMB21.6 — hitting the Shanghai’s daily increase ceiling for newly listed shares.
The Shanghai-based company, which already has 26 sites across Asia, Europe and the United States, plans to spend the proceeds on building and expanding its R&D facilities in China that will ultimately serve its international clientele. That’s in addition to a brand new R&D center WuXi said it’s building next to a Shanghai manufacturing site, announced days ago.
This marks the third IPO that CEO Ge Li has orchestrated since he took WuXi AppTec private in 2015. Its subsidiaries WuXi STA and WuXi Biologics are listed in China and Hong Kong respectively, with the latter raising $509 million just last year.
WuXi got the green light for the IPO in a matter of weeks, underscoring both the sizzling hot biopharma market and what analysts describe as a sign of intense rivalry building up between the exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Hong Kong recently rewrote its rules allow biotechs that haven’t booked any profits to list in the market in an effort to woo China’s fledgling biotechs.
As one of the biggest CRO players in the country, WuXi is in a position to cash in on the enthusiasm.
“I’m deeply grateful for the great confidence and support we have received from the investment community,” Li said in a statement. “It allows us to further focus on our mission and accelerate growth of our enabling platform. Our commitment has always remained the same – we want to empower and enable anyone and any company to advance medicines for patients faster. This commitment will underpin everything we do as we build a strong, valuable and socially responsible public company.”
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