Pan­dem­ic fears force Chi­nese biotech to post­pone Hong Kong IPO meet­ings — Bloomberg

At the same time the coro­n­avirus out­break orig­i­nat­ing from Wuhan is boost­ing shares prices of a raft of (most­ly over­seas) drug­mak­ers, it ap­pears to have al­so forced at least one do­mes­tic biotech to slow down its IPO plans in Hong Kong.

In­no­Care Phar­ma — a Bei­jing-based com­pa­ny fo­cused on can­cer and au­toim­mune dis­eases with a lead drug now lined up at Chi­na’s reg­u­la­tor — has de­cid­ed to post­pone in­vestor meet­ings in­tend­ed to gauge de­mand for the HKEX list­ing, Bloomberg re­port­ed. Ac­cord­ing to anony­mous in­sid­ers, In­no­Care had planned to raise about $200 mil­lion.

De­pend­ing on whether and how quick­ly a pan­dem­ic en­sues, this could mark the first of many IPO dis­rup­tions.

While the ma­jor ports be­tween main­land Chi­na and Hong Kong re­main open for the time be­ing (a con­tro­ver­sial arrange­ment in the sup­pos­ed­ly se­mi-au­tonomous city), many of the in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors back­ing pub­lic de­buts and the bookrun­ners they hire are in cri­sis mode.

Banks have start­ed to ask em­ploy­ees com­ing back from main­land Chi­na to work from home for two weeks — rough­ly the in­cu­ba­tion pe­ri­od for the 2019-nCoV — po­ten­tial­ly mak­ing meet­ings with com­pa­ny ex­ecs dif­fi­cult. Fur­ther­more, trav­el re­stric­tions have put face-to-face dis­cus­sions on hold, with one Eu­ro­pean banker telling Bloomberg that he’s go­ing to stay over­seas for longer.

But a cou­ple of phar­ma com­pa­nies al­ready list­ed, whether in Hong Kong or main­land Chi­na, of­fered some rare bright spots amid a cat­a­stroph­ic rout for Chi­na’s stock mar­ket once it re­opened fol­low­ing the 10-day Lu­nar New Year hol­i­day.

As­cle­tis, the first pre-rev­enue biotech to join the HKEX, en­joyed a 19% surge to HK$4.95 af­ter it no­ti­fied in­vestors that it’s co­or­di­nat­ing with med­ical in­sti­tu­tions to launch clin­i­cal tri­als of its ex­per­i­men­tal com­bo of ASC09 and ri­ton­avir. It con­tin­ues an up­ward trend that be­gan days ago when the biotech said it’s sub­mit­ted an emer­gency use ap­pli­ca­tion to the Na­tion­al Med­ical Prod­ucts Ad­min­is­tra­tion to use the ther­a­py, orig­i­nal­ly de­signed for HIV, as a treat­ment for the 2019-nCoV in­fec­tion.

Well-known play­ers such as Shang­hai Phar­ma, Harbin Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Group and Han­soh al­so scored sin­gle-dig­it gains, de­spite not os­ten­si­bly do­ing any­thing to com­bat the coro­n­avirus.

It didn’t float all boats, though. De­spite an­nounc­ing that it’s set up a ded­i­cat­ed team to en­able de­vel­op­ment of neu­tral­iz­ing an­ti­bod­ies to the virus, WuXi Bi­o­log­ics shares stayed some­what flat at HKD$99.65.

In its fil­ings from Oc­to­ber In­no­Care in­di­cat­ed that it would al­lo­cate much of the IPO pro­ceeds to its lead drug, ore­labru­ti­nib, a BTK in­hibitor that’s been ac­cept­ed by the NM­PA for re­view in re­lapsed or re­frac­to­ry chron­ic lym­phoblas­tic leukemia and small lym­phoblas­tic lym­phoma. Two oth­er clin­i­cal-stage as­sets tar­get pan-FGFR and FGFR4, re­spec­tive­ly, fol­lowed by six drug can­di­dates ex­ecs want to bring in­to Phase I.

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