Unicorn Moderna joins lineup to list on Hong Kong's exchange; Processa licenses compound from Concert
→ Rumors are flying that biotech’s biggest unicorn, Moderna, which was recently valued at $7 billion, is planning a dual IPO listing on both the Nasdaq and the Hong Kong exchanges. That’s according to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the company’s plans. The listing, they say, could be as early as next year. Moderna would be one of several biotechs lining up to list on Hong Kong’s exchange, which just recently announced a rule change that would allow life science startups to list. Announced in December (and taking effect this year), the rule change will allow companies that haven’t earned revenue or profit to apply for IPOs in Hong Kong — as long as they’re valued at HK$1.5 billion (US$192 million). The companies must meet some criteria first, like being at least 2 years old and having some patents. Another biotech unicorn, Grail, which has raised over $1 billion and whose backers include GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Bill Gates, is also gearing up for a $500 million Hong Kong listing. The rules for the Hong Kong exchange are expected to be finalized in late April. When the gate lifts, we expect to see lots of biotechs trotting through.
→ Hanover, Maryland-based Processa Pharmaceuticals has picked up a license for a compound called CTP-499, which it says has potential for multiple pharmacological targets. First, the company says its tackling a chronic, disfiguring condition called Necrosis Lipoidica (NL). “The Processa development team has already met with the FDA on NL and has a solid strategy for moving forward with the development of CTP-499 in NL starting with a Phase II clinical trial in NL patients in 2018,” said Processa’s CEO David Young in a statement. “We also hope to meet with the FDA on a second clinical stage indication for CTP-499 in the next few months.” For the license, Processa is paying $8 million in shares to Concert Pharmaceuticals. Concert is eligible to receive royalties on commercial sales.