Move over, Hong Kong: Shang­hai’s new tech board sees fer­vent de­mand for maid­en biotech IPO

Days af­ter tak­ing off to a buoy­ant start, Shang­hai’s STAR mar­ket — Chi­na’s push to open up a new fundrais­ing av­enue for do­mes­tic fledg­ling tech com­pa­nies — has some good news to re­port about its biotech debu­tant.

Xi­an­ping Lu

Shen­zhen Chip­screen Bio­sciences has priced its shares at RMB 20.43 ($2.96) per share in an over­sub­scribed IPO, the com­pa­ny said in a fil­ing. That could trans­late to  RMB 1 bil­lion, or al­most $145 mil­lion, in IPO pro­ceeds, with a val­u­a­tion of $1.21 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a fil­ing cit­ed by Reuters.

For those who’s been fol­low­ing Hong Kong’s at­tempt to lure Chi­nese biotech star­tups away from the Nas­daq, though, Chip­screen’s re­al test might just be start­ing.

As­cle­tis, the biotech pi­o­neer on HKEX, is still down more than 60% from its list­ing price last April, when it raised $400 mil­lion — to much fan­fare. The stocks of BeiGene and Hua Med­i­cine have al­so lan­guished, though sev­er­al oth­er sub­se­quent list­ings such as CanSi­no and Jun­shi are still soar­ing.

It’s un­clear how much, if at all, the two ex­changes would be com­pet­ing for biotech list­ings. The over­all num­ber of ap­pli­cants that the Shang­hai mar­ket has al­ready at­tract­ed ap­pears to dwarf Hong Kong’s tech board, but the lat­ter — which has ac­cu­mu­lat­ed the con­fi­dence of in­ter­na­tion­al in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors — have proved lu­cra­tive for the few biotech play­ers that man­aged to pull off an IPO.

In the case of Chip­screen, re­tail in­vestors are ac­count­ing for about a fifth of the IPO. Many of them have like­ly been en­er­gized by a 140% first-day surge among the ini­tial 25 firms to list on STAR.

Found­ed in 2001 by Xi­an­ping Lu, Chip­screen prides it­self for be­ing an ear­ly in­no­va­tor in the Chi­nese small mol­e­cule space, adopt­ing its name­sake drug screen­ing tool to hunt new drugs in on­col­o­gy, meta­bol­ic dis­ease, au­toim­mune and en­docrinol­o­gy.

Its first drug, Ep­i­daza or chi­damide, was ap­proved in Chi­na as ear­ly as 2014 for re­frac­to­ry/re­cur­rent pe­riph­er­al T-cell lym­phoma. The epi­ge­net­ic reg­u­la­tor in­hibits sub­types of the HDAC en­zymes and has since been li­censed to Huya Bio­science in the US and Eu­rope, GNTbm in Tai­wan, and Ei­sai in parts of Asia.

A sec­ond-gen in­sulin sen­si­tiz­er for Type 2 di­a­betes is next on its reg­u­la­to­ry agen­da, fol­lowed by an­oth­er mid-stage can­cer drug.

Lu, who trained as a post­doc at UC San Diego with stints at La Jol­la and Gal­der­ma, told a road­show au­di­ence that the IPO pro­ceeds will help “strength­en com­pet­i­tive­ness, ex­pand mar­ket share, and de­vel­op new prod­ucts in a bid to make growth sus­tain­able,” Reuters re­port­ed.

So­cial im­age: Shut­ter­stock

Brian Kaspar. AveXis via Twitter

AveX­is sci­en­tif­ic founder fires back at No­var­tis CEO Vas Narasimhan, 'cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly de­nies any wrong­do­ing'

Brian Kaspar’s head was among the first to roll at Novartis after company execs became aware of the fact that manipulated data had been included in its application for Zolgensma, now the world’s most expensive therapy.

But in his first public response, the scientific founder at AveXis — acquired by Novartis for $8.7 billion — is firing back. And he says that not only was he not involved in any wrongdoing, he’s ready to defend his name as needed.

I reached out to Brian Kaspar after Novartis put out word that he and his brother Allen had been axed in mid-May, two months after the company became aware of the allegations related to manipulated data. His response came back through his attorneys.

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Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan [via Bloomberg/Getty]

I’m not per­fect: No­var­tis chief Vas Narasimhan al­most apol­o­gizes in the wake of a new cri­sis

Vas Narasimhan has warily stepped up with what might pass as something close to a borderline apology for the latest scandal to engulf Novartis.

But he couldn’t quite get there.

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FDA to Sarep­ta: Your wide­ly an­tic­i­pat­ed fol­lowup to Ex­ondys 51 is not get­ting an ac­cel­er­at­ed OK for Duchenne MD

In one of the least anticipated moves of the year, the FDA has rejected Sarepta’s application for an accelerated approval of its Duchenne MD drug golodirsen after fretting over safety issues.

In a statement that arrived after the bell on Monday, Sarepta explained the CRL, saying:

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Levi Garraway. Broad Institute via Youtube

Roche raids Eli Lil­ly for its next chief med­ical of­fi­cer as San­dra Horn­ing plans to step down

We found out Monday morning where Levi Garraway was headed after he left Eli Lilly as head of oncology R&D a few days ago. Roche named Garraway as their new chief medical officer, replacing Sandra Horning, who they say is retiring from the company.

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Af­ter a posse of Wall Street an­a­lysts pre­dict a like­ly new win for Sarep­ta, we're down to the wire on a crit­i­cal FDA de­ci­sion

As Bloomberg notes, most of the Wall Street analysts that cover Sarepta $SRPT are an upbeat bunch, ready to cheer on the team when it comes to their Duchenne MD drugs, or offer explanations when an odd setback occurs — as happened recently with a safety signal that was ‘erroneously’ reported last week.

Ritu Baral Cowen
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UP­DAT­ED: No­var­tis spin­off Nabri­va fi­nal­ly scores its first an­tibi­ot­ic ap­proval

In May, Nabriva Therapeutics suffered a setback after the FDA rejected its antibiotic for complicated urinary tract infections — the Novartis spinoff has now had some better luck with the US agency, which on Monday approved its other drug for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.

The drug, lefamulin, has been developed as an intravenous and oral formulation and been tested in two late-stage clinical trials. The semi-synthetic compound, whose dosing can be switched between the two formulations, is engineered to inhibit the synthesis of bacterial protein by binding to a part of the bacterial ribosome.

Saqib Islam. CheckRare via YouTube

Spring­Works seeks $115M to push Pfiz­er drugs across fin­ish line while Sat­suma sells mi­graine play in $86M IPO

SpringWorks and Satsuma — both biotech spinouts that have closed B rounds in April — are loading up with IPO cash to boost their respective late-stage plans.

Bain-backed SpringWorks is the better-known company of the two, and it’s gunning for a larger windfall of $115 million to add to $228 million from previous financings. In the process, the Stamford, CT-based team is also drawing the curtains on the partnerships it has in mind for the pair of assets it had initially licensed from Pfizer.

Mi­nor­i­ty racial groups con­tin­ue to be dis­mal­ly rep­re­sent­ed in can­cer tri­als — study

Data reveal that different racial and ethnic groups — by nature and/or nurture — can respond differently in terms of pharmacokinetics, efficacy, or safety to therapeutics, but this disparity is not necessarily accounted for in clinical trials. A fresh analysis of the last decade of US cancer drug approvals suggests the trend continues, cementing previous research that suggests oncology trials are woefully under-representative of the racial makeup of the real world.

Van­da shares slide af­ter FDA spurns their big end­point and re­jects a pitch on jet lag re­lief

Back in the spring of last year, Vanda Pharmaceuticals $VNDA served up a hot stew of mixed data for a slate of endpoints related to what they called clear evidence that their melatonin sleep drug Hetlioz (tasimelteon) could help millions of travelers suffering from jet lag.

Never mind that they couldn’t get a planned 90 people in the study, settling for 25 instead; Vanda CEO Mihael H. Polymeropoulos said they were building on a body of data to prove it would help jet-lagged patients looking for added sleep benefits. And that, they added, would be worth a major upgrade from the agency as they sought to tackle a big market.