A group of marquee investors with close ties to Just Biotherapeutics in Seattle have come together to back a $57 million round for a Chinese joint venture building new lab and manufacturing operations in Hangzhou, offering fresh evidence of the booming biotech market in China.
Just Biotherapeutics was founded in Seattle by Jim Thomas and other Amgen vets, seeded partially by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as they set out to develop low-cost antibodies that could be sold around the world. Now their affiliate, Just China in Hangzhou, is working on facilities which the company says will employ 100 scientists and engineers.
And in the meantime the group says they have a preclinical pipeline of novel therapies and biosimilars that will go into the clinic next year.
The group has a global syndicate backing their play. Singapore-based Temasek led the round, with Lilly Asia Ventures and Seattle-based Arch Venture Partners contributing more cash. New investors also include Taikang, Hangzhou Economic & Technological Development Area, Bank of China and Bank of Hangzhou.
While still under construction, the company says the project will be complete and operational in Q1 2018.
Said Yining Zhao, co-founder and CEO of Just China:
“Healthcare innovation in China has already entered into a new era. With joint efforts from all parties, Just China is committed to demonstrating the innovation in our products and business model, to truly accomplish our mission of providing good quality biotherapeutics for all.”
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