Backed by Or­biMed, Lil­ly and now Ad­van­tech, Chi­na's In­ven­tis­Bio loads up $70M to pro­pel can­cer, meta­bol­ic pipeline

Al­most two years af­ter bag­ging a $19 mil­lion round for its ear­ly-stage R&D amid some sweep­ing re­forms in Chi­na’s reg­u­la­to­ry world, Shang­hai-based In­ven­tis­Bio is back on stage with $70 mil­lion in Se­ries C cash and a glob­al Phase II game plan.

Yaolin Wang

Ad­van­tech Cap­i­tal and CM­BI — both rec­og­niz­able names in Chi­na — co-led the round, fol­lowed by Pudong In­notek. They join ex­ist­ing in­vestors Lil­ly Asia Ven­ture and Or­biMed Asia in back­ing a start­up boot­strapped by Mer­ck vet and com­pa­ny founder Yaolin Wang, who left the phar­ma gi­ant in 2015 to start In­ven­tis­Bio.

Now, In­ven­tis­Bio spreads its clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment team be­tween the US and Chi­na with help from a crew of CRO sup­port, plow­ing away at small mol­e­cule drugs for can­cer and meta­bol­ic dis­eases. Its most ad­vanced as­sets, D-0316 and D-0120, tar­get non-small cell lung can­cer and gout re­spec­tive­ly.

D-0316 was the sub­ject of a re­cent li­cens­ing deal with Bet­ta Phar­ma, in which the sea­soned part­ner would help ac­cel­er­ate de­vel­op­ment and claim rights to com­mer­cial­iza­tion in Chi­na while In­ven­tis­Bio keeps its op­tions on oth­er re­gions of the globe.

Ben­jamin Qiu, co-head of Health­care In­vest­ment at Ad­van­tech, took the chance to high­light D-0502, an es­tro­gen re­cep­tor de­grad­er (SERD) for ER-pos­i­tive breast can­cer that’s brew­ing in Phase I as a “front-run­ner of sim­i­lar prod­ucts be­ing de­vel­oped glob­al­ly.”

Wang pre­vi­ous­ly told End­points News that he will be field­ing In­ven­tis­Bio’s first ap­proval in the next year or so, by mov­ing di­rect­ly from Phase I in­to piv­otal tri­als. That am­bi­tious time­line seems less like­ly now, though with strong fi­nan­cial back­ing and a help­ful NM­PA — which en­cour­aged do­mes­tic in­no­va­tion by green­light­ing the first home­grown check­points just weeks ago — the com­pa­ny will still be look­ing to move as fast as it can.

Im­ple­ment­ing re­silience in the clin­i­cal tri­al sup­ply chain

Since January 2020, the clinical trials ecosystem has quickly evolved to manage roadblocks impeding clinical trial integrity, and patient care and safety amid a global pandemic. Closed borders, reduced air traffic and delayed or canceled flights disrupted global distribution, revealing how flexible logistics and supply chains can secure the timely delivery of clinical drug products and therapies to sites and patients.

In fi­nal days at Mer­ck, Roger Perl­mut­ter bets big on a lit­tle-known Covid-19 treat­ment

Roger Perlmutter is spending his last days at Merck, well, spending.

Two weeks after snapping up the antibody-drug conjugate biotech VelosBio for $2.75 billion, Merck announced today that it had purchased OncoImmune and its experimental Covid-19 drug for $425 million. The drug, known as CD24Fc, appeared to reduce the risk of respiratory failure or death in severe Covid-19 patients by 50% in a 203-person Phase III trial, OncoImmune said in September.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 94,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: As­traZeneca, Ox­ford on the de­fen­sive as skep­tics dis­miss 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine

On the third straight Monday that the world wakes up to positive vaccine news, AstraZeneca and Oxford are declaring a new Phase III milestone in the fight against the pandemic. Not everyone is convinced they will play a big part, though.

With an average efficacy of 70%, the headline number struck analysts as less impressive than the 95% and 94.5% protection that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have boasted in the past two weeks, respectively. But the British partners say they have several other bright spots going for their candidate. One of the two dosing regimens tested in Phase III showed a better profile, bringing efficacy up to 90%; the adenovirus vector-based vaccine requires minimal refrigeration, which may mean easier distribution; and AstraZeneca has pledged to sell it at a fraction of the price that the other two vaccine developers are charging.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 94,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Bob Nelsen (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Bob Nelsen rais­es $800M and re­cruits a star-stud­ded board to build the 'Fox­con­n' of biotech

Bob Nelsen spent his pandemic spring in his Seattle home, talking on the phone with Luciana Borio, the scientist who used to run pandemic preparedness on the National Security Council, and fuming with her about the dire state of American manufacturing.

Companies were rushing to develop vaccines and antibodies for the new virus, but even if they succeeded, there was no immediate supply chain or infrastructure to mass-produce them in a way that could make a dent in the outbreak.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 94,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Peter Thiel (Riccardo Savi/Sipa via AP Images)

Tech bil­lion­aire Pe­ter Thiel backs a lead­ing psy­che­del­ic drug de­vel­op­er

Right on the heels of investing in antibody drug developer AbCellera, Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel has jumped into a syndicate putting up $125 million for a company with a portfolio of psychedelic drugs in the clinic for mental health.

The C round — which includes a $32 million conversion of notes to equity — will fuel the development programs at ATAI Life Sciences, a Berlin-based biotech that has assembled a portfolio of companies with psychedelic and non-psychedilc approaches to depression, anxiety and addiction.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 94,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Frank Zhang (AP Images)

Plot thick­ens around Leg­end Biotech, Gen­Script with founder Frank Zhang's ar­rest

Two months after Legend Biotech made the startling disclosure that founder and then-CEO Frank Zhang was placed under “residential surveillance,” its parent company revealed that he’s been formally arrested.

Zhang — who, since founding GenScript 18 years ago, has taken the CRO public and groomed Legend Biotech in-house until the J&J-partnered CAR-T player was mature enough for its own Nasdaq listing — is severing his final ties with both. He is resigning as board chair/non-executive director of GenScript and director of Legend.

Carl Hansen, AbCellera CEO (University of British Columbia)

From a pair of Air Jor­dans to a $200M-plus IPO, Carl Hansen is craft­ing an overnight R&D for­tune fu­eled by Covid-19

Back in the summer of 2019, Carl Hansen left his post as a professor at the University of British Columbia to go full time as the CEO at a low-profile antibody shop he had founded called AbCellera.

As biotech CEOs go, even after a fundraise Hansen wasn’t paid a whole heck of a lot. He ended up earning right at $250,000 for the year. His compensation package included a loan — which he later paid back — and a pair of Air Jordan tennis shoes. His newly-hired CFO, Andrew Booth, got a sweeter pay packet than that — which included his own pair of Air Jordans.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Simeon George, SR One CEO (SR One)

Scoop: SR One crew com­pletes a com­pli­cat­ed spin­out from Glax­o­SmithK­line. And now they have a $500M fund to in­vest on their own

It’s taken close to 2 years, but Simeon George and his team at SR One have completed their spinout from GlaxoSmithKline, ending a saga as one of the longest running venture arms of Big Pharma as they go out on their own to forge the next chapter with a new and independent $500 million fund.

GSK is sticking with the spinout, this time as a minority investor — though a big one. And I’m told that the R&D group at GSK will remain involved in evaluating their new plays, helping with the scientific due diligence involved in scouting the world for new opportunities during a period of explosive growth in biotech investing.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Vipin Suri, Catamaran Bio CSO

Cata­ma­ran Bio sails in­to the CAR-NK wa­ters with a $42M launch round

Catamaran Bio’s founding members decided to jump into the CAR-NK game last December over drinks at a trendy bar in Boston.

They were sitting around a table, discussing an MD Anderson study which provided some of the first clinical proof that natural killer (NK) cells can be reengineered to attack tumors, much like CAR-T therapies. It was a “long and lively” discussion, COO Mark Boshar recalls. And by the time it was over, they had a starting point to launch a company.