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2022-01-03| Asia-PacificIPO

RNAi Player Sirnaomics Squeezes in $50 Million IPO in Hong Kong

by Joy Lin
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Sirnaomics, a RNA-focused company based in China and the US, raised a little over $50 million in its debut on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. The company offered a total of 7.54 million shares at HK$65.90. 

Kunming Jiashiqing and Innoforce Pharmaceuticals have been mentioned as cornerstone investors. 

Despite pricing its shares at the bottom of its predicted range of HK$65.90 to HK$72.70, Sirnaomics’ stock surged 18% on its first day, closing at HK$77.90, putting its market cap at $900 million.  

The public float comes five months after Sirnaomics closed a $105 million Series E round led by Rotating Boulder Fund. And just last year, the company raised the same amount in a Series D round co-led by Rotating Boulder Fund, Walvax Biotechnology and Sunshine Riverhead Capital. 

16 Clinical and Preclinical Assets

 

According to Sirnaomics, the majority of the proceeds would go into development and commercialization of its small interfering RNA (siRNA) lead pipeline candidate, STP705. Some of the funds will be set aside for other lead candidate STP707 and the GaINAc (N-Acetylgalactosamine) program, which designs liver-targeting siRNAs. The remainder of the proceeds will be used to develop preclinical candidates and support corporate expenses. 

RNA interference, also called RNA silencing, is a cellular gene inhibition mechanism likely evolved to combat foreign agents such as viruses. It typically involves RNA molecules that bind to a target mRNA, which inactivates the mRNA. Thus, the targeted proteins will not be translated and their expression drops. 

Sirnaomics’ STP705 is currently in a Phase 2 study in squamous cell skin cancer. The molecule targets TGF-β1 and COX-2 gene expression. The other lead candidate STP707, which targets the same genes, recently received the FDA go-ahead to begin a Phase 1 trial in solid advanced tumors. 

Besides the two candidates, Sirnaomics is also developing 14 other drugs that cover a variety of cancers, infectious diseases and fibrosis. 

RNA Silencing, a Rarity in China

 

RNAi is steadily gaining traction in China, with notable deals surfacing in recent months. 

Three weeks ago, Qilu Pharmaceutical struck a licensing agreement worth over $300 million with Arbutus for China rights to Arbutus’ AB-729, a treatment for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. 

On the other hand, Hansoh Pharma is turning out to be a major RNAi player in the Chinese market. Since October, the Shanghai-based company has struck three separate licensing deals with Keros, Silence and OliX for their RNAi therapeutics. The combined value of these deals is estimated to be nearly $2 billion.

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