Writer: Minhua Chu, Long Cheng
Editor: Justin Fischer
May's tally of fundraising deals for drug developers in China remains on par with that of April, but there has been a remarkable spike in the total dollar value. Of 23 venture capital investement deals, 21 were publicly disclosed, reaching a total value of $957 million.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a class of biopharmaceutical drugs designed as a targeted therapy for treating cancer. In recent years, ADCs have become one of the hottest classes in China’s drug development with two HER2-targeted ADCs already green lighted by the NMPA.
Three biopharmacetical companies focusing on ADCs secured considerable investment from venture capitals firms. Among them, DAC Biotech received $156 million in Series C funding, the largest investment of the month.
The investment was co-led by PE firm Hillhouse Capital’s venture unit GL Ventures, Hong Kong-based healthcare investment firm CDG Capital, and state-backed CITIC Private Equity Funds Management (CPE).
Since its inception in 2012, DAC has specialized in developing ADCs and small molecular cytotoxic anti-tumor drugs. Its lead candidates, DAC-002 (targeted Trop2) and DX126-262 (targeted HER2), have now entered Phase I clincial trials in China.
Two other ADCs developers, Duality Biologics and GeneQuantum Healthcare, also recevied investments this month valued at $90 million and $10 million, respectively.
Immuno-oncology therapies are another class in high demand with investors. Elpiscience Biopharma, a Shanghai-based clincial stage innovative immuno-oncology drug developer, received $105 million in Series C funding. The investment was led by the Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, a state-backed industry fund launched in 2018 to support high-tech industries in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
Now, Elpiscience Biopharma has pipelines with 15 experimental drugs. Three are in early-stage clincial development.