JW Therapeutics rakes in $300M Hong Kong IPO to bring CAR-Ts to China

As it gears up to launch a new CAR-T therapy in China, JW Therapeutics pulled off a $300 million (HK$2.325 billion) IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The bulk of the funds will bankroll R&D and commercialization for its lead program, while the rest will fund the company’s earlier-stage programs.

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JW Therapeutics, a joint venture founded by Juno Therapeutics and WuXi AppTec in 2016, floated 97.7 million shares at HK$23.80 apiece, BioWorld reported Tuesday. The biotech went on to raise $190 million in private rounds to bring new CAR-T treatments to China, where there are no approved treatments of the kind.

The IPO comes on the heels of JW Therapeutics’ $100 million series B, raised in June. The company tagged about 40% of the proceeds for relmacabtagene autoleucel (relma-cel), an anti-CD19 CAR-T therapy it’s developing for relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma, according to a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Chinese regulators are reviewing the drug’s regulatory filing and gave it a speedy review in September.

In addition to funding R&D for relma-cel, JW will use the capital to build an in-house sales and marketing team to sell the treatment across China.

The rest of the IPO proceeds will support preclinical programs including JWCAR129, an anti-BCMA CAR-T in development for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, as well as potential acquisitions or licensing deals.

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The company has already teamed up with U.S.-Taiwanese biotech Acepodia on cell therapies for solid tumors and blood cancers, as well as Eureka on cell therapies for liver cancer and Lyell on treatments for solid tumors.