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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Markets
HK exchange seeks to lure biotech IPOs
    2018-January-30  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINESE drug companies have been on a tear in the U.S. stock market. Now, entrepreneurs and investors betting on the Asian country’s fledgling biotechnology industry see another reason for optimism.

Hong Kong’s stock exchange, home to the world’s fourth-largest equity market, is in the midst of weighing a proposal that would allow biotech companies to list even before they turn a profit.

If those plans go through, it would pave the way for more mainland health care firms to raise money via initial public offerings (IPOs), giving them easier access to funds for research.

Annual spending on prescription medicines has crossed US$100 billion in China as the incidences of diseases like diabetes and cancer have surged. The Asian country has lagged behind the United States and other developed markets on innovation, and China has said it wants to build homegrown champions in the health care industry.

The proposed Hong Kong listing rules would provide a boost to those plans, while helping the exchange list more of the mainland’s new economy companies that are particularly attractive to international investors.

Without access to the Hong Kong market, such pre-profit companies “will likely go to America, but now Hong Kong comes in with its advantages in geography and language,” said Lu Xianping, founder of Chipscreen Biosciences, a Shenzhen-based drug developer.

Chipscreen is preparing for an IPO and weighing options including the mainland and Hong Kong, according to Lu, whose company has one cancer drug on the domestic market and is developing other oncology and diabetes therapies.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing famously missed the opportunity to list Alibaba Group Holding, with the Chinese e-commerce giant choosing to list in the United States, where its weighted voting structure was allowed.

The biotech proposal comes as a string of mainland companies working on innovative drugs are seeking IPOs. The Hong Kong exchange aims to finalize the new rules and begin taking applications around June, and plans to add people with biotech expertise to its listing division, CEO Charles Li told media Jan. 24.

China’s drug innovation has gained momentum in recent years, in part due to dramatic regulatory reforms to speed up approvals, said Debra Yu, head of U.S. cross-border health care investment banking for China Renaissance, a Chinese boutique investment bank. (SD-Agencies)

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