- Chinese cancer biotech Beigene is raising roughly $2.1 billion from investors, including $420 million from partner Amgen, in a stock offering announced Sunday evening.
- The raise will significantly boost Beigene's already sizable cash position to nearly $5.5 billion, more than that held by large U.S. biotechs like Biogen, Vertex and Alexion as of the end of March.
- Beigene, which last November won U.S. approval for its lymphoma treatment Brukinsa, has benefited from the heightened global attention now being paid to China-based drugmakers. A wide-ranging collaboration with Amgen signed last year gave it marketing rights in China to three of the U.S. company's cancer medicines.
Amgen has now invested more than three billion dollars in Beigene, which has emerged as a leading company in China's booming biotech sector.
With the $420 million purchase of new Beigene shares announced Sunday, Amgen will maintain the roughly 20% stake in the Chinese company that it took through last year's partnership.
Along with Amgen, existing investors Baker Bros. Advisors and Hillhouse Capital also bought some of the 145 million shares offered for purchase by Beigene. The biotech's stock trades on the Hong Kong stock exchange, home to many public Chinese biotech companies, while American depositary shares in Beigene are listed on Nasdaq.
Beigene has built a large commercial presence in China, selling several cancer drugs developed by Celgene and now owned by Bristol Myers Squibb. Under the deal with Amgen, Beigene began marketing in China Amgen's bone cancer drug Xgeva in July, and plans to soon begin selling Kyprolis for multiple myeloma and Blincyto for leukemia.
But the partnership with Amgen also gives Beigene rights in China to as many as 20 experimental drugs in Amgen's pipeline, should any secure approval there. The arrangement, which unusually has Beigene contributing as much as $1.25 billion for research and development, reflects Beigene's growing prowess at inventing new cancer drugs.
Brukinsa, which won approval in China as well as the U.S., was developed by Beigene, as was the cancer immunotherapy tislelizumab, now cleared in China.
Seven other experimental medicines have emerged from Beigene's research laboratories. The company employs more than 1,300 staff in clinical development teams located in China, the U.S., Europe and Australia.