XellSmart Bio, a Shanghai-based startup established just this year, has Qiming Venture Partners and Lilly Asia Venture (LAV) on board to support its fight with degenerative diseases by developing large-scale, low-cost stem cell therapies. Parkinson's disease is the first target.
On Sep. 8, the firm said it closed a pre-series A round to raise nearly RMB100 million ($15 million). The financing round was led by Qiming and LAV, and backed by Tao Capital, Next Capital, Frees Fund, YuanBio Venture Capital and TEDA Venture Capital.
The proceeds will be used to support pipeline development and construction of the pilot GMP workshop and quality control center. Previously, the firm raised tens of millions of yuan from angel investors in June.
XellSmart has disclosed six pre-clinical pluripotent stem cells programs. Its lead candidate XS_001 aims at Parkinson's disease. The startup is also developing XS_002 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The startup obtains pluripotent stem cells by reprogramming and uses gene editing to establish genetically modified pluripotent cell lines. It also has a technology platform to differentiate induced human pluripotent stem cells into subtype neurons.
XellSmart boasts a team of scientists from Peking University, Tsinghua University, Harvard University, The University of California and leading stem cell therapy companies. It said the team has an average of more than 10 years of experience in the industry as well as research in stem cell and regenerative medicine and gene editing.