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Hillhouse-Backed I-Mab Biopharma Will Launch IPO in Early 2019
COVID-19 and China

I-Mab Biopharma (天境生物), a Shanghai-based biotech company which was said to target up to USD 500 million in IPO and aimed to complete the share sale by the end of 2018, has rescheduled the IPO time and will probably make it happen in the first half of 2019, someone familiar with the matter told EqualOcean recently.

This April, Hongkong Stock Exchange changed its rules to allow unprofitable biotech company to list. Since then, more than 10 biotech companies have submitted the application. BeiGene, a Nasdaq listed biotech company, launched a new primary listing in Hongkong Stock Exchange in August, now with a market value of more than HKD 63 billion on Hongkong Stock Exchange and USD 8.2 billion on Nasdaq. 

I-Mab was also planning to list in Hongkong, but now the company may reconsider the plan. This year, More than 70% of Hongkong newly listed company traded below issue price due to looming market expectation partially caused by the trade war between China and the United States; and a new choice emerged after Chinese President XI Jinping announced in the early November a science and technology innovation board will be set up with a pilot registration system in the Shanghai Stock Exchange. 

AI, big data, and biotech are among the priority areas, which top startups in these areas will be encouraged by the science and technology innovation board. On November 16, deputy secretary of Shanghai municipal party committee YIN Hong (尹弘) paid a visit to I-Mab, a sign that the government regards the company as a priority candidate, and I-Mab may consider the new IPO option. 

In June, I-Mab raised USD 220 million series C funding from a group of investors including Hony Capital, Hillhouse Capital, HOPU Investments, CDH Investment, Ally Bridge Group, Singapore-based EDBI. In the next month, ZANG Jingwu (臧敬五), founder and CEO of I-Mab, hired former Jeffereies Group executive ZHU Jielun (朱杰伦) as the new CFO, to lead financing work including IPO.

 Interviewed by state-owned Xinhua News Agency in late November, ZHU said IPO is an organic component of I-Mab’s overall financing planning, will surely be considered, but the details of IPO were not convenient to disclose soon. 

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