China, IPOs

WuXi AppTec cruises toward a steady debut in Hong Kong stock exchange, ending flat on IPO price

Completing a grand plan for a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong in the span of seven months, WuXi AppTec has debuted on the HKEX, ending the day at its original IPO price.

Net proceeds will register at $967 million (HK $7,553 million), the company said in a statement, assuming the over-allotment option is not exercised. The proceeds emanate from the sale of some 116 million shares for $8.71 (HK$68) a pop, in an IPO that, (according to Reuters) values the CRO powerhouse at $10.2 billion.

The final price fell squarely in the middle of the range.

Ge Li

As previously reported, the proceeds will go toward enhancing WuXi’s capabilities — from bioanalysis and manufacturing to R&D and AI — as well as acquiring companies and nurturing startups in the broad healthcare space.

And WuXi — a well-connected China-based CRO with several subsidiaries and dozens of sites spread around the globe — is not wasting any time. Days ago the company announced it’s expanding its facilities in San Diego to gather key elements of its small molecule platform under one roof, from screening, discovery biology, pharmacology, process R&D all the way up to Phase I manufacturing. The company has also launched a New York-based joint venture focused on drug discovery with the computational chemistry experts at Schrödinger.

“We will continue to enhance the capability and capacity of our platform to enable our collaborative partners worldwide,” said Ge Li, founder, chairman and CEO. “We aspire to foster a networked healthcare ecosystem.”

Li took WuXi private from the New York Stock Exchange in 2015 for a cool $3.3 billion valuation. He has since orchestrated a few public listings for WuXi subsidiaries, including WuXi STA and WuXi Biologics, in mainland China and Hong Kong.

This April, Hong Kong regulators officially opened up the stock exchange to pre-revenue biotechs (WuXi, notably, does not belong to this camp), coinciding with a turbulent season for the overall market. Some of the hottest stocks, including maiden biotech Ascletis, slumped despite initial fervent interest. Nevertheless, Innovent Biologics’ has experienced an impressive surge following its $421 million raise, which suggests there’s still ample room for well-established domestic companies on the HKEX.

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