China, Deals

New Chinese VC leads $10M round for a Harvard spinout looking to industrialize platelet manufacturing

A new Chinese venture group looking to bridge therapeutics into the big Asian market led a $10 million startup round for a Boston-based biotech upstart that is looking to industrialize the human platelet-making process.

Spun out of the labs of Joseph Italiano and Jonathon Thon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard, Platelet BioGenesis now has the cash to do the preclinical work on a new process to manufacture platelets, routinely used for cancer patients or after surgery.

Currently sourced from donors, with a shelf life of just a few days, the investigators have developed a technology that mimics the way the human body creates platelets. And they believe if they do it right, they can sell into a large market that would welcome a reliable source of replacement platelets.

Sven Karlsson

“The use of platelets is severely limited by a lack of donors, their limited viable shelf-life of two days, and potential bacterial/viral contamination,” says Sven Karlsson, the co-founder and chief business officer.

The $10 million, says Thon, “will allow us to repeat investigational new drug-enabling studies and establish a scalable industrial process to manufacture clinical grade platelets.”

Some of that money is coming from Qiming US Healthcare Fund, which a few months ago filed documents with the SEC indicating that it is raising $125 million for its new fund as the home office in China manages $2.7 billion in assets. Qiming is getting more directly involved in the US at the same time Shanghai-based LYFE Capital dives deeper here and WuXi just merged into a new group with ambitious plans in North America. You can expect to see more money flowing into US biotechs as Chinese companies get busy in-licensing new products.

Qiming US Healthcare Fund led the round in a syndicate that included Vivo Capital, VI Ventures, Adena Partners, eCoast Angels and others.


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