Lilly Asia Ventures co-leads $100M+ round for Chinese biotech and its late-stage lupus drug
Can a Chinese biotech deliver the first new lupus drug in decades? A high-profile group of VCs are betting on it.
Lilly Asia Ventures and Lake Bleu Capital are the co-headliners for RemeGen’s latest raise, which brought in more than $100 million. Hudson Bay Capital and Vivo Capital — which, like LAV, also invested in a pre-IPO round for Legend Biotech unveiled today — chimed in, as did Janchor Partners and OrbiMed.
RemeGen got going in 2008 when Jianmin Fang, a Canada-educated scientist who trained at Harvard Medical School, convinced his friends at a traditional Chinese medicine company to launch a biologics player with him, the founder told Endpoints News. He’s served as the CEO and CSO since then.
Initially focused on antibodies and fusion proteins, he soon added antibody-drug conjugates to the arsenal. The lead program, RC18 or telitacicept, binds to BLyS (B lymphocyte stimulator) and APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand). With pivotal data in systemic lupus erythematosus pending, RemeGen has already filed for an NDA in China. Six other mid- or late-stage programs are underway for other autoimmune disease indications.
Then there’s RC48, a HER2 ADC that has shown promise in gastric and urothelial cancers; RC28, a VEGF/FGF targeted drug aimed at wet AMD and diabetic macular edema; as well as RC88, a second ADC designed to home in on the mesothelin antigen.
Fang expects the list to expand as he allocates some of the new cash to his early-stage discovery platform — while the rest gets divided among the R&D, commercial and manufacturing teams.
In perhaps a sign of the times, the biotech is based in the coastal city of Yantai on the Shandong peninsula, thousands of miles away from the Shanghai hub.