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Week in Review: BeiGene Completes $3.5 Billion IPO on Shanghai STAR Board

publication date: Dec 18, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings

BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160; SHA: 688235), a Beijing oncology company, began trading on the Shanghai STAR Board as the last step in its $3.5 billion IPO (see story). The company is now listed in the US, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Shanghai offering was priced at a considerable premium to BeiGene's other listings (41% over the US and 34% above Hong Kong) and, not surprisingly, the China shares fell 17% on its first trading day. Also, investors expect BeiGene may give up its US listing. Like other US-listed China companies, BeiGene must open its books to US audits within three years or face delisting.  

Beijing's BeiGene in-licensed ex-China rights to a LAG-3 immunotherapy developed by Nanjing Leads Biolabs in a $772 million collaboration agreement (see story). BeiGene will have development, manufacturing and commercialization rights to the candidate outside of China. In a Phase I trial, LBL-007 was well tolerated and showed initial signs of activity in patients with advanced solid tumors. LAG-3 is an immune checkpoint receptor expressed on activated T cells that negatively regulates these cells, resulting in tumor immune escape.  

Jinan Qilu Pharma entered a $300 million agreement to acquire greater China rights to an RNAi therapy for hepatitis B developed by Arbutus Bio of Philadelphia (see story). B-729, Arbutus’ lead candidate, is currently in multiple Phase IIa proof-of-concept clinical trials in combination with other approved or investigational agents. Qilu will pay $40 million upfront and make a $15 million investment in Arbutus. It will also be responsible for up to $245 million in milestone payments plus double digit royalties.  

Jiangsu Hansoh Pharma (HK: 3692) acquired China rights to a novel cytopenia therapy from Keros Therapeutics in an $190 million agreement (see story). Keros, a LexingtonMA pharma, is developing KER-050, to treat low blood cell counts, including anemia and thrombocytopenia, in patients with either myelodysplastic syndromes or myelofibrosis. Hansoh will be responsible for all KER-050 development in China, Hong Kong and Macau. It will make a $20 million upfront payment to Keros and pay up to $170.5 million in milestones plus royalties.  

Hangzhou AnHeart Therapeutics closed a $61 million Series B funding to develop precision oncology therapies (see story). The financing was led by new investor Octagon Capital, with participation from Suzhou's Innovent Biologics. In June, Innovent struck a deal with AnHeart to co-develop and commercialize AnHeart’s lead drug candidate, taletrectinib, in greater China. Taletrectinib is a next-generation TKI that targets ROS1 and NTR to treat solid tumors. Cenova, Laurion Capital, and Sage Partners also participated in the B round.  

3SBio (HK:1530) of Shenyang expanded its partnership with Zurich's Numab Therapeutics by acquiring China rights to Numab's multivalent mesothelin (MSLM)-targeting CD3 T cell engager, an immunotherapy (see story). The candidate consists of four antibody variable domain fragments directed against MSLN, CD3 and human serum albumin. MSLN is commonly expressed in several types of tumor cells including mesothelioma, lung, biliary, ovarian, breast and pancreatic cancer. In 2019, 3SBio invested $15 million in Numab for options to develop up to five novel Numab immunotherapy candidates.  

Biosion, a Nanjing-Delaware immunoncology company, out-licensed global rights for its anti-Trop2 humanized monoclonal antibody to Taiwan's OBI Pharma (TWO: 4174) (see story). OBI will conduct preclinical and clinical development plus commercialization of BSI04702 as an antibody drug conjugate along with other products. BSI04702 was created using Biosion's proprietary SynTracerTM HT-endocytosis platform, a high-throughput endocytosis screening application that identifies antibodies with high internalization rates. OBI Pharma will make upfront, milestone and royalty payments, though specific details were not disclosed. 

Trials and Approvals 

Shanghai Antengene announced that Xpovio® (selinexor), a first-in-class, oral Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE), was approved in China for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (see story). It is China's first approved XPO1 inhibitor and Antengene's first approved product. The conditional approval is for second-line therapy in combination with dexamethasone. In 2018, Antengene in-licensed China rights to four novel oral drug candidates including Xpovio® from Boston's Karyopharm in an $162 million agreement. 

Shanghai Zai Lab (NSDQ: ZLAB; HK: 9688) was approved in China to launch Nuzyra® (omadacycline), a novel antibiotic available in oral and intravenous formulations, to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (see story). Nuzyra was designed to overcome tetracycline resistance and improve treatment in several bacterial infections. In 2017, Zai acquired greater China rights to the antibiotic from Paratek Pharma of Boston. It made a $7.5 million upfront payment and is responsible for unspecified milestones plus royalties.  


Denovo Biopharma, a Hangzhou-San Diego precision medicine company, has discovered a genetic biomarker for predicting efficacy of a gene therapy in glioma (see story). Using its proprietary biomarker discovery platform in a retrospective analysis, the company discovered that the novel genetic biomarker is associated with a high rate of response to an investigational gene therapy combination treatment. Recurrent high grade glioma patients with the biomarker responded to DB107, a Denovo candidate that combines a gene therapy and chemotherapy. Denovo acquired the retroviral replicating vector platform from Tocagen in 2020.  

Lisen Imprinting Diagnostics, a Wuxi-Philadelphia company, revealed its novel epigenetics-based diagnostic for early lung cancer detection achieved 99% sensitivity and 92% specificity in preoperative cytological diagnosis (see story). Based on the epigenetic status of samples, the company's QCIGISH (Quantitative Chromogenic Imprinted Gene In-Situ Hybridization) technology can distinguish malignant lesions from benign tissue. The technology translates the biallelic and multiallelic expression status of cancer-related imprinted genes into visualized signals in the nuclei. The research was published in the Clinical Epigenetic Journal.  

COVID-19 Pandemic 

Shanghai Everest Medicines partnered with Providence Therapeutics, an Alberta company, to develop a new COVID-19 vaccine that targets the Omicron variant (see story). The two companies have analyzed the sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, selected viral sequences and designed plasmid clones. The companies expect to start clinical trials of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant vaccine in less than 100 days. Providence, which develops mRNA therapeutics, expanded its focus from oncology to include a COVID-19 vaccine. The two companies are already partnering on mRNA products.  

Disclosure: none.




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