All in on early-stage, Qiming US bags $260M, recruits Atara founder Isaac Ciechanover for Fund III
Even as some of the public biotech companies in its portfolio bend under the weight of a bear market, Qiming Venture Partners USA is rolling up its sleeves to build more startups.
The VC firm has taken the wraps off a $260 million third fund, dubbed US Healthcare Fund III, to execute on the same strategy as previous funds: invest in early-stage therapeutics and healthcare technology companies in the US and the EU.
The tight-knit team — spread among San Francisco, Seattle and Boston — is also bringing on a new partner. Isaac Ciechanover, a one-time biotech entrepreneur who’s held several venture capital gigs, will join Gary Rieschel, Mark McDade, Anna French and Colin Walsh as a partner.
Founded in 2017, Qiming US remains an affiliate of Shanghai-based Qiming Venture Partners, one of China’s earliest and most prominent biotech VC shops.
Both new and existing investors poured money into the new US fund, the firm added.
“We are incredibly proud of the entrepreneurs and healthcare innovations we have supported in just a few short years, and we are grateful for the continued support of our limited partners that make this possible,” said French in a statement.
Qiming US counts 16 therapeutics developers in its portfolio, seven of which have gone public. Two others have been acquired — Armo by Eli Lilly ($1.6 billion) and Cadent by Novartis ($210 million upfront).
Amid a biotech winter on Nasdaq, all the public companies, from Kezar Life Sciences and Jasper Therapeutics to HilleVax and Icosavax, are now trading below their IPO price — with the exception of Ventyx Biosciences.
But that’s clearly not deterring Qiming. In fact, it co-led a $75 million Series A for oligonucleotide specialist Ceptur earlier this year and chipped in to Nessan Bermingham’s Series B for Korro Bio, which came in at $116 million.
For his part, Ciechanover said he’s ready to be building companies again.
A Celgene BD vet, Ciechanover was a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers when he decided to start the cell therapy startup Atara. But he made a surprise departure in 2019 and has been working with Polaris before coming to Qiming.