AstraZeneca's Chinese investment bank partner raises $229M for its own new fund — and it's all about the coronavirus
Last November’s news about AstraZeneca launching a $1 billion venture fund with China International Capital Corporation (CICC) to invest in up-and-coming players was widely viewed as illustrative of the British drugmaker’s ambitions in China. As it turns out, it’s just as much about CICC — China’s largest investment bank — and its plans in biomedicine.
Days after announcing the AstraZeneca fund, state-backed CICC disclosed that it’s teaming up with 11 domestic firms to raise a fund dedicated to innovative drugs, in vitro diagnosis, medical technology and health IT. It’s now closed at $229 million (RMB$1.6 billion), according to a statement.
Branded as China’s answer to Goldman Sachs since it was launched in 1995 with Morgan Stanley, CICC has underwritten several biotech IPOs in recent years including those of I-Mab, Junshi and Henlius.
CICC Capital, its private equity arm, is in charge of managing the new fund. With close to $43 billion (RMB$300 billion) in assets, CICC Capital has made biomedicine one of three pillars of its direct investment portfolio alongside IT and consumer business. Cancer drug developer Abbisko and wound care specialist Tenry Pharma are among its bets.
Notably, it’s also channeled its money into VC funds — giving it a stake in big-name healthcare-focused players such as Lilly Asia Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, HighLight Capital and LYFE Capital.
For the new fund, it’s chipped in around $2.9 million, while Shenzhen-listed Pharscin Pharma, Hebei Port Group, Xiamen Fig Group, Fujian Sunner Group, Huirong Qide Investment, Xi’an Huirong, Xinwen Venture Capital (a subsidiary of Sichuan Daily Press Group) and others provided the rest.
No announcement about funding biomedicine these days is complete without alluding to the coronavirus outbreak out of Wuhan. CICC Capital devoted a considerate portion of its brief statement to highlight that it’s been in contact with multiple companies to help accelerate development of nucleic acid diagnostics, therapeutic antibodies, antivirals as well as vaccines.
It also said its new biomedical fund is the first investment fund to have gone through a new financial registration pathway set up earlier this month specifically for funds geared at prevention and containment of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Not only does the Chinese biomedical industry shoulder great innovative challenges under the epidemic, it’s also ushered in a rare development opportunity,” the firm stated.