3SBio Hong Kong debut gains above top-end IPO price

Shares in mainland China biotech 3SBio rose in their Hong Kong debut to the capital markets two years after delisting from the Nasdaq, marking a new bright spot for unlisted Asian biotech firms to look closer to home for cash.

The share price closed at HK$9.55 at listing on the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEx) on June 11, above the top end IPO price of HK$9.10 after selling 484.9 million new shares and another 121.2 million from Citic Private Equity.

The Shenyang-based company raised approximately $710 million in the Hong Kong initial public offering, according to a press release.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, CITIC Securities International and China Merchants Securities were underwriters for the firm that sees nearly 90% of its sales from hematological products.

Other firms such as Hutchison MediPharma, majority owned by Hutchison China MediTech, or Chi-Med, are closely followed in Hong Kong, but Mainland firms have often eyed the great valuations possible in the U.S, market, though venture capital firms operating in the region are building cases for Taiwan, Hong Kong and even possibly Singapore and Australia.

The move was flagged in February in a HKEx filing that said 3SBio has 8 potential candidates in nephrology and 6 in oncology, including three monoclonal antibody therapies, as well as autoimmune disease targets, among 20 potential products listed. At the time, analysts said the company wanted to raise $500 million.

In November, 3SBio in-licensed South Korea-based PharmAbcine biotech cancer drug candidate tanibirumab in Greater China and this year announced a deal on injectables with Sirton.

- here's the 3SBio release (PDF)