December 24, 2018 / 2:13 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 2-Shanghai Junshi Biosciences soars on HK debut after $394 mln IPO

* Junshi Biosciences taking advantage of new listing rules in HK

* Raised $394 mln after pricing shares at bottom of range

* Performance of biotechs in Hong Kong has been mixed (Adds analyst comment, updates with closing price)

By Julia Fioretti

HONG KONG, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Chinese biotech startup Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co Ltd soared more than 22 percent in its Hong Kong debut on Monday after raising $394 million in its IPO, a rare strong showing by a biotech company in the Asian financial hub.

Shares of Junshi Biosciences opened at HK$23.50 ($3.00) and closed at HK$23.7, about 22 percent above the initial public offering (IPO) price of HK$19.38.

This is the best performance so far among biotech firms that have debuted in Hong Kong after it changed its rules this year to allow listings from pre-revenue biotechs.

Innovent Biologics’ stock leapt almost 20 percent on its debut in October, boosting hopes for the sector after the first few companies plunged below their IPO prices.

Hong Kong has enjoyed its best year since 2010 in terms of listings, with companies raising $36.3 billion, more than anywhere else in the world, Refinitiv data shows.

But performance has been poor, with many of the big-ticket listings trading below their IPO prices.

Bankers and investors have said that the valuations of the first biotech companies to go public in Hong Kong were too high, contributing to their poor performance.

Ascletis, which was the first to take advantage of the new listing rules, has plunged 60 percent since its debut in August while Beigene Ltd is down over 27 percent.

“This time, a more realistic valuation helped boost interest in this start-up,” Linus Yip, Chief Strategist at First Shanghai Securities, said about Junshi Biosciences’ debut.

Junshi Biosciences priced its shares at the bottom of an indicative range last week.

Shanghai-based Junshi Biosciences has a pipeline of 13 biologic drug candidates, including immuno-oncology drugs and drugs targeting metabolic and inflammation or autoimmune diseases, its listing prospectus showed.

Its JS001 or toripalimab, which treats patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who have failed previous systemic therapies, won China’s first approval for a home-grown PD-1 monoclonal antibody.

CICC was the sole sponsor for the float. Along with Citi and Credit Suisse, the Chinese bank is also among joint bookrunners. ($1 = 7.8320 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Julia Fioretti, additional reporting by Donny Kwok; editing by Rashmi Aich and Himani Sarkar)

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