Flush with $165M IPO cash, Zentalis entices Tybourne, OrbiMed to fund a $20M China joint venture
Weeks after jumping into the public eye with an upsized $165 million IPO ($190 million if you count the overallotment), setting an upbeat tone for the later pandemic biotech floats, Zentalis Pharmaceuticals is following up with a plan to take three of its experimental cancer drugs to China.
Tybourne Capital Management had led a $20 million Series A for Zentera Therapeutics, a joint venture tasked with developing and commercializing current and future drugs out of Zentalis. OrbiMed Asia also came on board, though Zentalis remains the majority shareholder.
Anthony Sun, the longtime VC who helms Zentalis, will also take up the CEO role at Zentera.
Drawing from his tenure at Aisling Capital, Sun had laid low for the first five years, building the company into what he called a mid-stage operation before emerging with a $85 million crossover round last December. Three of the four pipeline programs have been cleared for Phase I/II by then.
The candidates to be funneled to Zentera are ZN-c5, an oral SERD (selective estrogen receptor degrader) for breast cancer being tested in combination with Pfizer’s Ibrance; ZN-c3, a WEE1 kinase inhibitor aimed at solid tumors; and ZN-d5, which targets BCL-2 in blood cancers. ZN-e4, the EGFR drug for lung cancer, is the subject of a regional deal in which SciClone grabbed the rights for China, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“The launch of Zentera is a key milestone in our global clinical development strategy,” Sun noted in a statement.
The next step? To build a management team of seasoned professionals in China.