China, Venture

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.

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