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Drug developer I-Mab hopes to raise up to US$500m in HK IPO

Hong Kong

THE Shanghai-backed Chinese drug developer I-Mab Biopharma is poised to seek approval for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as US$500 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company plans to submit an application to the Hong Kong stock exchange next week, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

I-Mab aims to complete the share sale by the end of the year, they added.

More than 10 biotech companies have applied to begin trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange since the bourse changed its rules in April to allow unprofitable drug developers to join.

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Shares of Ascletis Pharma, the first to make its debut under the new programme, have fallen 46 per cent since they began trading in August.

I-Mab is developing treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Jielun Zhu, the former head of Asia healthcare investment banking at Jefferies Financial Group, joined the company earlier this month as chief financial officer.

The company counts Hillhouse Capital, Hony Capital and Hopu Investment Management among its investors, according to its website.

Hony led a US$220 million round of fundraising this year, while C-Bridge Capital Partners and Shanghai Tasly Pharmaceutical Co led a US$150 million round in 2017. BLOOMBERG

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