MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Cancer testing startup Grail shies away from Hong Kong listing as it mulls US pivot

The weak performance of earlier biotech listings may be to blame.

Bloomberg reports that Amazon-backed cancer testing startup Grail is said to be weighing a flotation in the US as increasingly volatile market activity in Hong Kong may have pushed the biotech firm to reconsider the listing venue and timing of its highly anticipated share sale. 

Also read: Hong Kong's hottest IPOs lose steam as returns fall short

The California-based company which aims to develop tests to diagnose patients and detect cancer in the very early stage, is said to be aiming to list as early as 2019. The Hong Kong bourse consequently emerged as amongst the frontrunners to host the IPO in the early part of 2018 after introducing sweeping reforms allowing biotech firms with no track record of profitability to list in the Main Board. 

However, a source told Bloomberg that tumultuous and volatile market weighing on the performance of health companies going public in Hong Kong may have spooked Grail and pushed the reconsideration of its listing venue.

Aslo read: Thiriving IPO scene shows signs of pressure as stock markets slump

Listings by biotech firms Ascletis Pharma Inc. and BeiGene Ltd. with Ascletis shares down about 48% from their offer price. However, US biotech stocks are not exempt from the downturn with the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index of 190 stocks losing as much as 17% in a steep drop between August and October. 

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

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