I-Mab Weighing Partnership, Stake Sale to Pharma Giants
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese biotechnology firm I-Mab is weighing strategic options as it holds early talks with other global biopharmaceutical companies about partnerships and investments, according to people familiar with the matter.
I-Mab is conducting a review which could lead to clinical and commercial cooperation in China and a potential equity stake sale, the people said. The Shanghai-based firm is in preliminary discussions with large U.S. and European drugmakers about a possible deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
The company is also in talks with potential financial advisers for the review, they said. Shares of I-Mab jumped 7.8% in pre-market U.S. trading Tuesday.
Considerations are preliminary and no final decisions have been made, the people said. A representative for I-Mab didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nasdaq-traded I-Mab, whose market value has reached $5.4 billion after an almost 50% stock surge this year, continues to seek a partner to jointly develop its Uliledlimab, or TJD5, treatment in the U.S. and Europe, Bloomberg News has reported. Uliledlimab is a humanized CD73 antibody for use in cancer treatment. The licensing deal would aim to replicate the success of last year’s $2.9 billion deal with AbbVie Inc., people familiar with the matter have said.
The strategic review comes as I-Mab is pursuing a dual listing on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style exchange. I-Mab’s directors approved the proposed STAR board listing in July and hired China International Capital Corp. to work on its initial public offering tutorial.
Global drugmakers are seeking to expand in areas such as oncology via acquisitions, partnerships and licensing deals. Last month, Pfizer Inc. agreed to buy all the shares of Trillium Therapeutics Inc. it doesn’t own for an equity value of $2.26 billion.
In 2019, Amgen Inc. said it would pay about $2.7 billion for a 20.5% stake in Chinese-American drug developer BeiGene Ltd. in a deal to develop and commercialize several of Amgen’s on-market and experimental cancer drugs in China.
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