Qiming's China-focused $1.1B new fund brings global haul to $5B within 1 week — but the distribution won't be even
In case you’re still wondering, the global venture train for biopharma is definitely chugging along.
Qiming Venture Partners has just closed $1.1 billion for its seventh fund, bringing the grand total of new biotech funds close to $5 billion just over the past week. To be sure, the China-based VC also invests in medtech, diagnostics, healthcare services, information technology, artificial intelligence, enterprise services, consumer internet and e-commerce — but over the past 14 years it’s established itself as a premier early-stage biotech backer with an eye for players that eventually make it big.
The size of the new fund eclipsed both of the previous funds: Fund VI brought in $935 million while Fund V had $638 million.
The firm — which has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong — acknowledged that there were challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as geopolitical uncertainties. That said, high quality teams are still drawing commitments to advance treatments in the long run, echoing comments by ARCH, Flagship, venBio and Deerfield.
So is there going to be plenty of cash to go around through and after the crisis? Like his VC counterparts, managing partner Gary Rieschel predicts “extreme selectivity within VC portfolios” since many tranched funds tied to trial milestones could now be at risk.
But Qiming is also in a unique place — literally.
“China has less exposure here because it appears as though trial initiation and recruitment has resumed in China, whereas in the U.S. it may be several more months,” he wrote in an email to Endpoints News.
Case in point: Yesterday Zai Lab, for whom Qiming co-led a Series A back in 2014, struck a $190 million deal to develop and commercialize Regeneron’s CD20XCD3 bispecific. Part of the appeal, according to the US drugmaker, is that the collaboration would bolster enrollment of regional patients into global trials in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Meanwhile CanSino, another Qiming portfolio company, is by far the frontrunner in China’s efforts to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. The biotech, famous for developing the country’s first and only Ebola vaccine, got the green light to begin human testing for its adenovirus-based candidate in late March. That was days after Moderna’s ultra-fast mRNA program entered the clinic stateside.
Nisa Leung, who heads the healthcare team with William Hu, noted that over 60 of Qiming’s portfolio companies are helping in different aspects to combat the coronavirus in China and globally.
Now leading Qiming’s US operations in Seattle, Rieschel is mostly entrusting the China side of things to Leung, Hu and his co-founder Duane Kuang. But he’s keeping a close eye on the IPO market there.
“We had Venus Medtech go out in HK and Sanyou on the STAR board in the last few months. As well as Rockrobo on the Technology side,” he wrote. “It appears as though the Chinese capital markets are functioning, if not at the same scale yet as before.”
There are over 30 Qiming-backed companies in the IPO pipeline, according to a release.