Week In Review: Zai Lab Raises $750 Million In Private Placement For In-Licensed/Novel Drugs

Laboratory Test Tubes

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Deals and Financings

  • Zai Lab (ZLAB) raised a staggering $750 million in a private placement of its dual US/Hong Kong-listed stock (see story). Led by Samantha Du, PhD, an early China drug developer, Zai began as a China-based in-licensing company that has since expanded into novel drug development. It currently has a portfolio of 21 products. Zai has a market cap of $14 billion and over $1 billion in cash, not including this latest raise. The company said it will direct 30% of the proceeds to additional business development and licensings.
  • Beijing's EdiGene completed a $62 million Series B Plus financing to support its gene editing drug development efforts. Earlier this year (see story), EdiGene was approved to start a clinical trial of its lead product, an investigational CRISPR/Cas 9 gene-editing therapy for patients with transfusion dependent β-thalassemia. It is the first gene-editing therapy and the first hematopoietic stem cell therapy IND approved in China, EdiGene said. The company uses its genome editing technologies to accelerate drug discovery and develop novel candidates for genetic diseases and cancer. 
  • Suzhou Porton Biologics, a gene and cell therapy CDMO service company, closed a $61 million Series A funding (see story). In late 2020, the Phase I part of Porton's GMP facility was approved, and it began offering services that range from process development to clinical production of plasmids, viral vectors, and cell therapies. Proceeds from the financing will support Phase II construction. Porton Biologics is a subsidiary of Chongqing-headquartered CDMO Porton Pharma Solutions (SHA: 300363). 
  • Shanghai Junshi Bio (HK: 1877) completed its $50 million investment into its US partner, Coherus Biosciences (see story). In February, the two companies announced a $1.1 billion agreement, including a $150 million upfront payment to Junshi, that gives Coherus the right to commercialize Junshi's anti-PD-1 antibody in the US and Canada. One day later, Junshi announced it would make a $50 million investment in Coherus. Junshi's Tuoyi (toripalimab) was the first China-developed anti-PD-1 antibody approved in China. 
  • Ronovo Surgical, a Shanghai company developing novel minimally invasive and digital surgery devices, announced it has completed a Series A financing (see story). Ronovo was founded in 2019 by surgeons, medtech veterans and robotics experts to bring the latest surgical technologies to China's market. The company has established a soft tissue surgical robotics R&D program and will also license technology from other surgical device companies. The Series A round was co-led by Matrix Partners China and Vivo Capital, with support from seed investor Lilly Asia Ventures and participation from GGV Capital. 
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