December 18, 2018 / 4:13 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-China's Junshi Biosciences raises $394 mln after pricing IPO at bottom of range -sources

(Adds Junshi drug approval, updates IPO joint bookrunners)

By Julia Fioretti and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Chinese biotech startup Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co Ltd has raised $394 million after pricing its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) at the bottom of a marketed range, two people familiar with the share sale said on Monday.

The firm aims to take advantage of rules introduced by Hong Kong’s stock exchange in April allowing listings from pre-revenue biotechs, as the bourse competes to attract startups.

Junshi Biosciences priced shares at HK$19.38 ($2.48) each, the people said, having indicated a price of up to HK$20.38.

The people declined to be identified as the details were private. Junshi Biosciences did not respond to a request for comment.

Performance of biotech stocks listed under the new rules has been mixed. The share price of Ascletis Pharma Inc, the first to list, has fallen about 60 percent since trading began in August.

Beigene Ltd and Hua Medicine also fell after their debuts, though Hua Medicine has since recovered.

Innovent Biologics Inc has lifted sentiment in the sector with its stock up 55 percent since debuting on Oct. 31.

Bankers hope that as more biotechs list in Hong Kong, investors will grow more comfortable with the sector.

Shanghai Henlius Biotech Co Ltd, backed by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd, submitted its listing application last week.

Shanghai-based Junshi Biosciences has a pipeline of 13 biologic drug candidates, including immuno-oncology drugs and drugs targeting metabolic and inflammation or autoimmune diseases, its listing prospectus showed.

Its JS001 or toripalimab, which treats patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who have failed previous systemic therapies, had won China’s first approval for a home-grown PD-1 monoclonal antibody, the National Medical Products Administration said on Monday.

Junshi Biosciences said in the prospectus that it plans to launch JS001 commercially in China shortly after obtaining the approval.

The company has not yet earned revenue from drug sales. It booked revenue of 1.14 million yuan ($165,859) last year from consulting and research services, but recorded no revenue in the first half of 2018.

Losses for the first half widened to 272.9 million yuan from 154.5 million yuan in the same period last year.

Its stock will begin trading on Dec. 24.

CICC is the sole sponsor for the float. Along with Citi and Credit Suisse, the Chinese bank is also among joint bookrunners. ($1 = 7.8134 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Julia Fioretti and Julie Zhu; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Subhranshu Sahu

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