Sept. 18, 2020, 1:16 p.m. EDT

How this Nasdaq-U.K.-listed Chinese biotech is revolutionizing cancer treatment

Biotech company Chi-Med could list in Hong Kong as soon as 2021

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By Lina Saigol


Supplied by the company
Chi-Med Chief Executive Christian Hogg.

Running a $5 billion biotechnology company remotely is a daunting prospect at the best of times. Doing so during a pandemic is even more unnerving.

Yet that is exactly what Christian Hogg has had to grapple with since February, when the chief executive of Hutchison China MediTech /zigman2/quotes/208391399/composite HCM -2.93%  (Chi-Med) found himself stranded in Hong Kong and unable to travel to mainland China, where the company’s commercial operations are based.

Biotech companies in China were among the first to experience disruptions to their businesses, as manufacturing, logistics and transport were all impacted by the outbreak.

“Factories closed and clinical trials were affected,” Hogg says, recounting the early days of lockdown. “After working with local authorities, we put social distancing and protective equipment in place and reopened our factories in late February.”

By March, clinical trials with patients were back to 70% and by April, back to 95%, as the company conducted clinical trials with patients via videoconferencing or phone.

Read: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy for a Post-Pandemic World

The speed at which Chi-Med, was able to resume operations speaks to Hogg’s intimate knowledge of the company. The 55-year-old joined as CEO in 2000 from Procter & Gamble /zigman2/quotes/202894679/composite PG -1.72% , after he was approached by CK Hutchison, the conglomerate controlled by Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing, for the role.

“At the time, there was no biotech industry in China at all, only state-owned enterprises manufacturing generic drugs,” Hogg recalls. “But between 2005 and 2015 an enormous change took place as Chinese emerging companies started to build out the infrastructure, and research and development and investors started to pile in.”

“The vast majority of biotech companies in China today are not necessarily creating innovation themselves. They are acquiring innovations from the West and licensing drugs from Big Pharma and biotech,” Hogg adds.

Since 2006, Chi-Med has been dual-listed on London’s junior stock market Aim and Nasdaq. Its time as a listed company hasn’t always been a smooth ride.

In October 2019, the company’s Nasdaq-listed shares dropped 6% when CK Hutchison sold 1.3% of the company’s shares, taking its holding to below 50%, after the Hong Kong company said it wanted to deconsolidate Chi-Med’s results from its own.

Chi-Med’s U.S.-listed shares are up 35.5% in the year to date, according to FactSet.

Such hitches haven’t stopped Hogg from pursuing his company’s steadfast mission to become a global oncology business, and revolutionize cancer treatment by creating a portfolio of drugs aimed at preventing the disease from multiple angles through combining different therapies.

“At the end of the day, creating a cancer drug isn’t very difficult—you can get a clever chemist to knock up a molecule,” Hogg explains.

“What is difficult is that within a cell you have 500 proteins and enzymes at work and the drug might hit the target you are going for, but it will also hit a lot of other proteins and enzymes, and what we’ve done over 15 years is focused on creating laser like therapies that hit the right target while reducing toxicity.”

/zigman2/quotes/208391399/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 30.80
-0.93 -2.93%
Volume: 77,878
Oct. 19, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$4.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
$299,603
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/zigman2/quotes/202894679/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 141.91
-2.48 -1.72%
Volume: 6.43M
Oct. 19, 2020 4:02p
P/E Ratio
28.60
Dividend Yield
2.23%
Market Cap
$359.48 billion
Rev. per Employee
$727,304
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