Week In Review: Geneseeq And Elpiscience Close $100 Million VC Rounds; Zai Lab's PARP Inhibitor Approved For China Use

Geneseeq, a Nanjing-Toronto company that offers genetic sequencing tests for cancer, completed a $114 million Series D financing led by China Reform Holdings Corporation (see story). Geneseeq uses next-gen sequencing to provide decision-making tools for physicians. The company describes its pan-genomic test as a precision medicine support system for targeted drugs, immunotherapies and cancer risk assessment. The Geneseeq Prime test detects genetic abnormalities in 425 cancer-related genes. Lilly Asia Ventures and SoftBank China Venture Capital also participated in this round. In the three previous fundings, Geneseeq raised a total of $86 million.

Shanghai's Elpiscience Biopharma closed a $100 million Series B round to develop its portfolio of 12 novel immunotherapy candidates through pre-clinical and clinical testing (see story). The round was led by Hyfinity Investments. Just two years old, Elpiscience bases its drug development on its understanding of tumor biology and immunology. The company says its candidates must have a differentiated biology and then show efficacy in a platform that tests the molecule's benefits in clinical settings. Two weeks ago, Elpiscience signed a $21.4 million collaboration with two China banks to build a GMP manufacturing facility in Suzhou.

Shanghai Zerun Biotech completed a refinancing by raising $29 million in venture capital to pay down debt (see story). The company exchanged 11% of its shares for the $29 million in a round that included six VCs, led by Hillhouse Capital. Zerun, a subsidiary of Walvax Biotech (SHE: 300142), is developing novel first and second generation HPV vaccines and a Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease vaccine. Its affordable first-gen HPV vaccine is in Phase III tests, and it has six candidates in preclinical development. After the financing, Walvax holds a 65% stake in Zerun.

Innovative Cellular Therapeutics (ICT), a Shanghai-US CAR-T company, raised $28.6 million in a Series B+ round, led by LH Ventures, a Chongqing VC (see story). Proceeds from the funding will be used to advance ICTCAR014, ICT’s next-gen CD19-targeting armored CAR-T cell therapy into a 2020 US clinical trial. ICTCAR014 expresses a dominant negative PD-1 protein to block immunosuppression by cancer cells. It is already being tested in China trials. The company did not disclose the amount of the funding, though it was announced in a private equity website.

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