3SBIO Inc., an established Chinese biotech firm developing recombinant protein-based therapies in areas such as nephrology and oncology, is hoping to gain access to U.S. investors.
The company, of Shenyang, China, filed for an initial public offering, aiming to raise about $124 million to fund ongoing research and development, as well as manufacturing and marketing efforts.
In its prospectus, 3SBIO said it plans to sell about 7.2 million American depositary shares - representing about 50.3 million ordinary shares - priced between $12 and $14 apiece. Upon completion, the company's ADRs would be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker "SSRX."
Based on a $13 share price, the company expects net proceeds of $81.9 million, or $86.6 million if underwriters exercise their full overallotment option for general corporate purposes, clinical trials and expanding its manufacturing facilities and the sales and marketing network.
3SBIO's top-selling product is Epiao, an injectable recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) that's comparable to Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen Inc.'s blockbuster, Epogen. Epiao is indicated to stimulate the production of red blood cells in patients with anemia. Sales of the drug make up nearly 80 percent of 3SBIO's overall revenues, which totaled $11.7 million for the first nine months of 2006.
The company is in late-stage trials with a concentrated high dose of Epiao, which is designed to allow for less frequent administration. Pending positive results, 3SBIO anticipates filing for marketing approval in China in 2007. The company is following that with work on a second-generation Epiao product, NuPiao, which is set to begin clinical development in 2008.
In January 2006, the company gained Chinese approval for Tpiao, a recombinant human thrombopoietin (TPO) for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. As the first TPO-based drug available on the Chinese market, Tpiao received five years of marketing exclusivity, with the exception of a firm that received clearance for clinical development prior to Tpiao's approval. Tpiao also is in development for idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura.
The company out-licensed distribution rights for two of its approved products in 2004: Intefen, a recombinant interferon alpha-2a product for lymphatic and hematopoietic carcinomas, and Inleusin, a recombinant human interleukin-2 drug for renal-cell carcinoma. And, in 2006, 3SBIO brought in Tietai iron sucrose supplement through a five-year distribution deal with Shenyang Borui Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Tietai gained approval in China in 2005 for patients with end-stage renal disease who require iron replacement therapy.
Its development pipeline includes several next-generation protein-based drugs, including NuLeusin, a next-generation Inleusin product; a human papillomavirus vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer; and an anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) humanized antibody candidate for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
3SBIO reported a net profit of $2.7 million, or 30 cents per share, for the third quarter of 2006. As of Sept. 30, 2006, the company had a cash position of $87.3 million.
UBS Investment Bank, CIBC World Markets and Pacific Growth Equities are serving as underwriters for the offering.