Backed by Eli Lilly, a little-known and secretive Chinese biotech fills the tank as it heads to the clinic
A Chinese biotech backed by Lilly Asia Ventures just got some new cash to throw around.
Lynk Pharmaceuticals pulled in $50 million in a recently completed Series B, the biotech announced Friday, a little over three years after launch. The company plans to use the funds to support Phase I and Phase II studies for multiple pipeline programs, though it didn’t specify for which.
“Since the establishment of Lynk Pharmaceuticals, we have been advancing our projects with efficient execution, and we have made significant progress in just three and a half years,” CEO Zhao-Kui Wan said in a statement.
Also participating in the round were New Alliance Capital and Hangzhou HEDA Biological Medicine Venture Capital Partnership, as well as original shareholders Legend Capital and Med-Fine Capital.
Lynk was founded by a quartet of pharma veterans, with former execs from Pfizer, J&J, Merck and Sinopharm teaming up to found the company. The team started off with a $10 million angel investment from a group of Chinese VC firms, including Sinopharm’s venture arm and Kaitai Capital.
Since then, it’s been a steady march toward the clinic for Wan and his colleagues, but things began really heating up in 2020. In April of last year, Lynk out-licensed one of its preclinical programs to an unnamed bidder, netting nearly $200 million in upfront cash and promised milestones payments.
Later that July, Lynk brought in a new candidate through a separate deal. Agreeing to a licensing deal with Kobe University in Japan, the biotech signed on to develop RAS inhibitors with new mechanisms of action, in the hopes of attacking a “decades-old undruggable target,” Wan said at the time.
So far, the biotech has shepherded three programs past the IND-enabling stage, two in immunology and one in oncology. The company isn’t saying much else beyond that, only noting it’s shooting for human trials in the Friday release.
More recently, Lynk has begun disclosing the names and characteristics of some of its programs. In June of this year, the biotech announced it had received its third approval from Chinese regulators to begin trials. That specific experimental drug, known as LNK01003, is a kinase inhibitor targeting inflammatory bowel disease.
And earlier this month, the biotech dosed its first patient for a second program, LNK01002, being evaluated to treat primary myelofibrosis and secondary myelofibrosis induced by polycythemia vera or primary thrombocytosis. That study is an open-label Phase I, and the candidate is a triple-kinase inhibitor simultaneously targeting drivers of PMF and PV/ET-MF.