Qiming-backed Abbisko makes $200M+ Hong Kong debut, as a SPAC and Agenus spinout also price on Nasdaq
Three new entities priced their public debuts late Thursday and early Friday, including a SPAC, a traditional Nasdaq IPO and a Chinese biotech joining the Hong Kong Index.
Shanghai-based Abbisko Therapeutics raised the most money of the triumvirate, garnering $226 million in its Hong Kong debut and pricing at HK$12.46, or roughly $1.60 in US dollars. The blank check company followed up with a $150 million raise, while MiNK Therapeutics priced on Nasdaq at $12 per share and a $40 million raise.
As the IPO market continues to heat back up after a summer lull, the biotech sector recently passed the $14 billion mark in combined funds raised, per the Endpoints News tally. That has allowed the industry to remain on pace to surpass last year’s record sum of $16.5 billion across 91 Nasdaq debuts, according to figures from the stock exchange.
Here’s a look at each of the entities:
Abbisko makes a Hong Kong debut
Abbisko was founded in 2016 and saw significant investment a few years later from prominent China VC firm Qiming Venture Partners.
Back in 2019, Qiming led the biotech’s $42 million Series B round, getting Abbisko primed and ready to submit its cancer drugs for INDs. The fundraise came shortly after the biotech moved into GlaxoSmithKline’s old digs where founder Yao-Chang Xu aimed to set up a contract research venture for Eli Lilly.
The biotech has partnered with AstraZeneca for its lead program, a pan-FGFR inhibitor being studied as a monotherapy and in combination therapies to treat urothelial carcinoma. Abbisko’s last update for the program came in April, when it said it would “soon” be launching Phase Ib/II trials for the program in China.
Abbisko has several other FGFR-related programs in its pipeline, including ones looking at FGFR19-positive hepatocellular carcinoma and other solid tumors. Researchers are also working on a slate of immuno-oncology programs for things like tenosynovial giant cell tumors, graft versus host disease and triple negative breast cancer.
Friday’s debut on the Hong Kong Index comes about nine months after Abbisko raised $123 million in a Series D round last January. That round, in addition to participation from Qiming, was led by The Carlyle Group. Qiming said in a release the biotech is debuting with a market cap of more than $1.1 billion.
Another SPAC lands on Nasdaq
The newest healthcare SPAC to hit Nasdaq comes from a pair of investors that raised $150 million for the enterprise.
The SPAC, known as Sanaby Health Acquisition Corp. I, is run by Sandra Shpilberg and Timothy Zanni. Shpilberg is the founder of Seeker Health, a digital healthcare enrollment platform that was acquired by patient support service Eversana in 2018. Zanni, meanwhile, spent 30 years at the Dutch professional services network KPMG and retired in September 2020.
Sanaby’s S-1 contained much of the same boilerplate text used by nearly every life sciences SPAC during the current boom. Its acquisition strategy will center around buzzy phrases like “responsible innovation” and “proven traction,” with the caveat that it can still choose to reverse-merge with a company from any sector.
Like any SPAC, Sanaby will have two years to find a partner before it’s required to return the funds to investors.
Agenus spinout set to start trading
MiNK Therapeutics comes to Nasdaq with a modest raise of $40 million and a lead allogeneic natural killer T cell therapy expecting a readout before the end of the year.
Researchers are studying the program, known as AGENT-797, in solid tumors, relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, GvHD and ARDS related to Covid-19. The multiple myeloma portion of the trials will likely read out before 2021 is out, MiNK said in the S-1, while the other parts come later.
The GvHD study will launch sometime this quarter, and MiNK plans to study the program in solid tumors both as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors — with data for both coming in the first half of 2022. MiNK was spun out of Agenus back in 2017, and Agenus owns an 83% stake in the company. MiNK will trade under the ticker $INKT.