HONG KONG, Jun 29, 2023 – (ACN Newswire) – A biotechnology company in China – Laekna, Inc. (stock code: 2105.HK), today listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Hong Kong Stock Exchange”).
Laekna offered a total of 63,728,000 Shares in the global offering. The offer price was determined at HK$12.41 per offer share. The Company intends to use the net proceeds for the following purposes: (1) Use for rapidly advancing the clinical development and approval of one of the Company’s Core Products, LAE001. (2) Use for advancing the clinical development and approval of the other Core Product of the Company, LAE002. (3) Use for accelerating the research and development of other existing pipeline products and continuously advancing and improving the Company’s pipeline products. (4) Use for improving production capabilities and developing manufacturing capacities. (5) Use for business development activities and enhancing global reach. (6) Use for the Company’s working capital and other general corporate purposes.
The Laekna’s International Offering was over-subscribed by approximately 1.09 times of the 57,355,000 shares offered. The Hong Kong Offering also recorded an over-subscription, of approximately 5.81 times of the 6,373,000 shares offered.
“Laekna, originated from old Norse, means ‘to cure, to heal’. This is our original intention of establishing Laekna.” Dr. LU Chris Xiangyang, the founder, Chairman, and the Chief Executive Officer of Laekna, Inc. said, “Being listed in Hong Kong means Laekna has entered the international capital market. That is an important milestone as well as a new height for Laekna. I would like to thank all our staff for their unremitting efforts as well as our investors and partners for their endorsement and trust. We will begin with the end in mind and move forward steadily to benefit patients, repay our shareholders and contribute to the society. We will strive to become a public company with higher market value and stronger sense of social responsibility.”
A Global Leader in AKT Inhibitor with IND Approval for Internal Discovery
Laekna is a science-driven, clinical-stage biotechnology company. The Company aims to develop highly differentiated innovative drugs. Laekna prudently selects and evaluates potential drug targets with strong biological and disease associations, and has implemented a product development model that consists of internal discovery, business development and translational research.
Since its inception, Laekna has strategically designed and developed a diversified pipeline of 16 new drug R&D programs. The Company has initiated six clinical trials, including three Multi-regional Clinical Trials (MRCTs) across China, the U.S. and other jurisdictions.
LAE002, one of Laekna’s Core Products, is an ATP-competitive AKT inhibitor. AKT inhibitors have demonstrated their ability to reverse drug resistance in numerous clinical studies and showed their potential to address the urgent unmet medical needs in those selected cancers. According to Frost & Sullivan, LAE002 is one of the only two AKT inhibitors that have currently ongoing registrational clinical trials globally.
LAE001, Laekna’s other Core Product, is an androgen synthesis inhibitor that inhibits both CYP17A1 and CYP11B2. According to Frost & Sullivan, LAE001 is the only dual CYP17A1/CYP11B2 inhibitor in clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer globally. LAE001 can block both androgen and aldosterone synthesis and potentially be administrated without prednisone, the short-term high dose or long-term exposure of which can lead to a variety of adverse events.
For internal discovery, Laekna primarily focuses on identifying innovative immunology therapies for cancer and liver fibrosis. Among all internally discovered drug candidates, LAE102 is Laekna’s most advanced one for cancer treatment. It is a potentially potent and selective activin receptor type IIA (ActRIIA) monoclonal antibody (mAb) that has demonstrated anti-tumor activity and ability to increase the bodyweight of cancer-bearing animals in pre-clinical animal models. Laekna obtained the IND approval of LAE102 from the FDA in May 2023. While LAE105 is Laekna’s most advanced one for liver fibrosis treatment, which is expected to target activated hepatic stellate cells (aHSC) depletion and has entered into proof-of-mechanism pre-clinical studies.
Seasoned Core Management Team Members are Alumni of Nankai University and Have An Extensive History of Collaboration
Laekna’s core management team has established a long track record of accomplishment, leadership and deep knowledge in their respective fields. In addition, they share the common mission of discovering and delivering novel therapies to benefit patients worldwide. The Company’s founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Chris Lu, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Yong Yue, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Justin Gu have known each other since college for 40 years and have worked extensively together, which lays solid foundation for research and development as well as to create synergistic cooperation within team.
Laekna’s founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chris Lu, is a seasoned pharmaceutical researcher with over 20 years of industry experience. He has a strong track record of developing successful drug candidates of both biologics and small molecules. With deep scientific knowledge and know-how in disease biology, translational research and drug development, he has co-invented more than 10 drug candidates, including bimagrumab, an antibody drug that earned “Breakthrough Therapy” designation from the FDA. He served as the executive director leading discovery biology platform and liver disease drug discovery at China Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research. Laekna’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Yong Yue has over 20 years of experience in oncology clinical development and ample clinical practice experience in China, Europe and the United States. Laekna’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Justin Gu, has over 20 years of drug discovery experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies with strong scientific background in cancer and liver disease. He is an experienced drug-hunter and key co-inventor of several pre-clinical drug candidates.
With a vision to deliver novel therapies to patients worldwide, Laekna established an integrated team located in both China and the U.S. This arrangement allows the Company to be at the forefront of medical research and knowledge, conduct MRCTs efficiently and execute business development strategies. Laekna has also established an all-round clinical development function that allows the Company to rapidly execute clinical trials and navigate the global regulatory environment to shorten the time to market for product candidates.
Strong Investors and Partners
Over the past five years, Laekna had a proven track record of building a global network and value-creating strategic partnerships and collaborations. The Company has established a number of global and regional partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis and Innovent. Laekna has successfully in-licensed four clinically validated assets with strong combinatorial potential from Novartis, spearheaded by LAE002 and LAE001. In 2021, Laekna entered into a collaboration agreement with Innovent to explore and maximize the potential value of the combination of LAE002 and sintilimab for patients with solid tumors in China.
Before this IPO, Laekna conducted five rounds of investments and the Pre-IPO investors include OrbiMed Healthcare Fund Management, GP Healthcare Capital, CS Capital, SCGC and etc. In this IPO, the Company gathered four cornerstone investors: Yuyao Yangming Equity Investment Fund Co., Ltd., Future Industry Investment Fund II, Ningbo Yaoshang Yanchuang Chenkai Venture Capital Partnership (Limited Partnership) and OrbiMed Asia Partners III, L.P.
About Laekna, Inc.
Founded in 2016, Laekna, Inc. is a science-driven, clinical-stage biotechnology company. The Company has two Core Products and 14 other pipeline product candidates. Core Product LAE002 is an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) competitive AKT inhibitor for the treatment of ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and PD-1/PD-L1 drug-resistant solid tumors. The other Core Product LAE001 is an androgen synthesis inhibitor that simultaneously inhibits cytochrome P450 family 17 subfamily A member 1 (CYP17A1) and cytochrome P450 family 11 subfamily B member 2 (CYP11B2) for the treatment of prostate cancer. The Company has initiated one registrational clinical trial and another five clinical trials for its Core Products LAE002 and LAE001. Among these six clinical trials, three are multi-regional clinical trials (MRCTs) designed to address medical needs in the standard of care (SOC)-resistant cancers. As of June 6, 2023, Laekna owned 176 patents and patent applications (including in-licensed patents and patent applications with global rights).
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