An Easier Road to a Hong Kong Listing for Biotech Companies

In June 2017, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (“HKEx”) initiated a holistic review of the Hong Kong listing regime to enhance its overall competitiveness against other major global listing venues, in particular to attract companies from emerging and innovative sectors. During this review, the HKEx identified the biotech industry and companies operating in the industry as a highly attractive pool of candidates for a Hong Kong listing. The HKEx recognized the fact that, in the U.S., biotech companies comprise the majority of companies seeking a listing in the early stage of the company’s development and the development of the company’s products. The HKEx also acknowledged that many biotech companies have legitimate capital markets needs ahead of having a revenue-generating commercial product or service. Why biotech companies? The HKEx believes that the regulation and oversight by internationally recognized regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, CFDA and EMA, and the stages involved in their approval process provide external validation and an indication as to the nature of biotech companies, and their development progress, in the absence of traditional financial indicators, such as revenue and profit.

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