Hong Kong’s first wave

How Ascletis’ performance could affect up to 100 biotechs hoping to list on HKEX

Having broken the seal on the new biotech chapter of Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Ltd., the performance of Ascletis Pharma Inc. and the next few companies to go out could determine what happens to as many as 100 other companies hoping to float over the next 18 months.

Now that BeiGene Ltd. has priced its secondary offering on the exchange, the current queue contains seven companies that will likely go out over the next two to five months. That includes two U.S. biotechs -- mitochondrial disease company Stealth BioTherapeutics Corp. and microbiome play AOBiome Therapeutics Inc. -- hoping the exchange will reward them with more money and larger valuations than they could achieve at home even during the boom in new offerings on NASDAQ.

Three Hong Kong market watchers told BioCentury they expect domestic innovators including Ascletis, diabetes play Hua Medicine Ltd. and autoimmune and cancer company Innovent Biologics Inc. to serve as harbingers of investor appetite, because they represent the top tier of China’s private biopharma sector.

The reception for Stealth and AOBiome could determine whether or not other U.S. biotechs will seek a listing on the exchange.

The first-wave companies will have to execute, as exchange officials and industry stakeholders fear investors could sour on pre-revenue biotechs if a few of them fail to deliver.

“Whatever the company said it would do during the roadshow or communicated to investors, they have to deliver,” Ally Bridge’s Bin Li told BioCentury.

Ascletis

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