China, Licensing, Venture

C-Bridge hands Nuance Biotech $35M, opening doors to more China licensing deals

China’s powerhouse private equity player C-Bridge Capital is dishing out $35 million to experiment with a new partnership model.

Its partners at Nuance Biotech announced a deal with Pacira Pharma that gave them development and commercialization rights of Exparel in China. What went unmentioned at the time was the role C-Bridge played, identifying the opportunity and facilitating the pact.

Mark Lotter

That deal makes sense, says Nuance CEO Mark Lotter, because the non-opioid pain drug fits right with their focus in the surgical space.

“Our partnership with C-Bridge has already helped to build out our portfolio, and I look forward to working with their team of business development professionals to bring in additional product opportunities,” says Lotter in a statement.

Of the funding, $20 million is designated Series B cash, while the other $15 million is earmarked for the acquisition of new products — to ensure that C-Bridge can continue to flex its deal-brokering muscles.

Wei Fu

Founded in 2014 by the team that ran NovaMed — an Atlas-backed startup offering commercialization services for global and local pharma companies, which had been acquired by SciClone — Nuance is already marketing several products in addition to developing assets licensed from US and UK biotechs. While its headquarters are in Shanghai, its operations (and product rights) are spread between the Chinese biotech hub and South Africa.

“This investment represents a unique funding model for building a best-in-class pharmaceutical business in China,” says C-Bridge CEO Wei Fu. “Nuance’s proven ability to move products through registration to the market along with its large sales organization and robust sales effectiveness system make it an excellent partner for commercializing innovative pharmaceutical products in China.”

As part of the round, C-Bridge managing director Neo Zhang gets a seat on the board, joining David Su of Matrix Partners China, an early investor in the company.


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