Chinese-headquartered bio/pharma initial public offerings (IPOs) increased in value by 80% from 2019 to 2020, reaching $3.8B for 2020 alone, according to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Centre Deals Database. The number of IPO deals in China has grown consistently over the last five years where oncology has remained the top area for therapeutic companies going public in China. Since 2019, China stepped up its IPO reform by introducing a pilot registration-based system for its capital markets.
Chinese oncology therapeutic companies showed a 150% increase in the number of IPO deals from 2019 to 2020 compared to other therapy areas, as shown in Figure 1. RemeGen raised $514M for its IPO completed in November 2020, with the majority of its drug pipeline for Oncology. Jiangsu Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group remains on top with the largest IPO deal in China of $1B completed in June 2019, with its drug pipeline spanning across many of the top therapy areas. However, China still lags behind the US in number of IPOs completed from 2019 to October 2021, with the US having 5.5 times more completed IPO deals compared to China, according to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center Deals Database.
In September 2021, the President of China Xi Jinping, announced plans for a new stock exchange in Beijing to provide financing for innovative small and medium-size companies. This would be similar to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Science and Technology Innovation Board (STAR) launched in July 2019, as a rival to the US Nasdaq, to encourage innovative companies to list before they have a marketed drug. However, the number of biotech companies with innovator drugs listed on the Nasdaq and New York stock exchanges is still higher than on China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.
The downturn in Chinese IPOs in 2021 was due to the Shanghai Stock Exchange remaining flat where the top companies on the SSE 50 and SSE 80 indices have been down. It remains to be seen if the number of Chinese bio/pharma companies going public may change for next year.