Chinese biotech firm Hua Medicine raises US$117 million to go toward clinical trials for diabetes drug
Chinese drug maker Hua Medicine, which is studying a potential stock market listing, raised US$117 million in a combined fourth and fifth round of funding to pay for clinical trials and the commercialisation of its diabetes drugs.
The new investors in the Shanghai-based firm include Blue Pool Capital, owned by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma and vice-chairman Joseph Tsai, New World Development executive vice-chairman Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, and Ping An Insurance’s venture capital unit Ping An Ventures.
Hua’s drug Dorzagliatin helps Type 2 diabetes patients regain control of blood sugar equilibrium, by working on an enzyme that acts as a “glucose sensor” regulating the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. Existing drugs have side effects and deficiency in glucose control in some patients. China is the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market after the US.
“With this round of financing, we will continue our efforts to advance the development of Dorzagliatin so that its novel, beneficial disease-modifying effects can be shared with Type 2 diabetes patients in China first, and then globally”, Chen Li, CEO of Hua Medicine, said in a statement.
The company said in a South China Morning Post interview in January that it was considering an IPO in Hong Kong after the bourse operator relaxed listing rules for biotechnology firms.
Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing closed a month-long consultation on a listing rules reform, which will allow biotech companies without revenue and large technology companies with multiple classes of shares carrying different voting rights to list in the city for the first time, as soon as early summer, according to its chief executive, Charles Li Xiaojia.
He said HKEX was aiming to overtake New York’s Nasdaq within five years when it comes to the number of Chinese biotech company listings and market capitalisation.