Chinese Biopharma Startup I-Mab Plans Nasdaq IPO

I-Mab, a Shanghai-based developer of biologic treatments for cancers and autoimmune disorders, has filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq under the symbol “IMAB”.

The firm said it is looking to raise $100 million, a common placeholder figure, to use for research and development of drug candidates, to invest in trials in China and the US, and to fund the construction of manufacturing facilities in Hangzhou.

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The company has a shrewd strategy for biologic development. It conducts proof-of-concept trials in the US and works towards getting clearance from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human trials. The data gathered from those trials is used to accelerate clinical development in China. Eventually, after the experimental drug has been clinically validated in the States, the company retains Chinese rights for further development and commercialization, while retaining the option to out-license globally. The process takes advantage of a 2018 Chinese government reform that fast-tracks internationally developed drugs.

I-Mab has a slate of ten clinical and preclinical biologics to treat autoimmune disease and cancer, which is on the rise in China due to pollution and high smoking rates. Growth in China’s biologics market is outpacing the rest of the world and is expected to reach $189.4 billion in sales by 2030, I-Mab said, citing a Frost & Sullivan report.