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MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Hong Kong's first pre-profit biotech float Ascletis closes flat on debut

It sold 224 million shares with an IPO priced at the middle end.

Reuters reports that the first firm to take advantage of Hong Kong’s new rules for biotech listings, Ascletis Pharma Inc., closes flat on its debut after rising by as much as 6.4%.

Also read: Can Hong Kong successfully lure biotech firms from Nasdaq?

Ascletis, which is in the process of developing hepatitis C, HIV and liver cancer drugs, sold 224 million new shares in an IPO priced at the middle of a HK$12 to HK$16 range.

On Wednesday, Ascletis shares rose as high as $14.9 in early trade before ending unchanged from its IPO price at $14.

So far, more than 10 biotech firms, which includes US-based Stealth BioTherapeutics and Hua Medicine are eyeing Hong Kong listings after the bourse introduced sweeping reforms to its listing regime allowing biotech firms with no track record of profitability to list.

The biotech sector was chosen as initial focus in widening market access as they make up a majority of companies in the pre-revenue stage seeking a Main Board listing and activities like clinical trials tend to be highly regulated under the current regime.

Here’s more from Reuters:

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