Covid-19 Vaccine Developer CanSino Bio to Trade on Star Market
COVID-19 and China
A scientist is using a Petri dish. Credit to Drew Hays on Unsplash.jpg

On February 18, Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology (6185: HK) was enquired by  the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) about its filing to China's Nasdaq-style Star Market. According to its recent prospectus, released earlier this month, CanSino Bio plans an issuance of 24.8 million shares, representing 10.2% of the post-IPO outstanding shares, underwritten by China CITIC Securities

Less a month ago, CanSino Bio was authorized to develop a coronavirus-related vaccine under the Covid-19 Science and Technology Major Project initiated by the Tianjin Science and Technology Commission at the peak of the continued spread of coronavirus. The expected refinancing from China's stock market would help facilitate the development of the Covid-19 vaccine and the optimization of its clinical biotech pipeline.

Founded in 2009, the biotechnology company has worked in vaccine research, development and commercialization to provide medical solutions for rare diseases for emerging markets at affordable prices. Its core competency lies in its Ebola vaccine, Ad5-EBOV – the first authorized vaccine for Ebola in national reserves. 

Amid the coronavirus crisis, CanSino Bio, appointed by the civic government, will undertake the studies of viral vector vaccine, mRNA vaccine, recombinant protein vaccines and other vital researches, and develop evaluation techniques for pre-clinical phase. Besides, Dynamiker Biology, Genskey Bio and other Tianjin-based biotechnology companies are authorized to lead research on co-infections of coronavirus and invasive fungal, diagnostic kits, and other areas.

From 2013 to 2019, CanSinoBio raised more than USD 118 million over several rounds. Before the IPO at Hong Kong market opened with HKD 22 on March 28, 2019, it raised USD 65 million from a Series C round.

After SSE announced the new refinancing rules on February 14, many Star board-listed companies attempted to seize the chance. As reported earlier, Asymchen Laborator (002821: SZ), a biotechnology company, received more than CNY 2.3 billion from Hillhouse Capital in a private placement on 16th, making the first healthcare deal after the regulatory reform. And now CanSino Bio seems to be rumbling in the SSE market. If it hits the Star board successfully, the emerging bio company will become another 'A + H' stock.

As stated in its prospectus, CanSino Bio has not profited yet. With the lowered threshold from the China Security Regulation Commission and urgent market expectation for the Covid-19 vaccine, the market in spring 2020 may see a burst of more biotechnology companies stand out and seize the warm breeze.

Editor: Luke Sheehan
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