Gary Rieschel, Duane Kuang, Nisa Leung, William Hu (Qiming)

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.

The Avance Clinical leadership team: CEO Yvonne Lungershausen, Sandrien Louwaars - Director Business Development Operations, Gabriel Kremmidiotis - Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Edwards - Chief Strategy Officer

How Aus­tralia De­liv­ers Rapid Start-up and 43.5% Re­bate for Ear­ly Phase On­col­o­gy Tri­als

About Avance Clinical

Avance Clinical is an Australian owned Contract Research Organisation that has been providing high-quality clinical research services to the local and international drug development industry for 20 years. They specialise in working with biotech companies to execute Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials to deliver high-quality outcomes fit for global regulatory standards.

As oncology sponsors look internationally to speed-up trials after unprecedented COVID-19 suspensions and delays, Australia, which has led the world in minimizing the pandemic’s impact, stands out as an attractive destination for early phase trials. This in combination with the streamlined regulatory system and the financial benefits including a very favourable exchange rate and the R & D cash rebate makes Australia the perfect location for accelerating biotech clinical programs.

As­traZeneca trum­pets the good da­ta they found for Tagris­so in an ad­ju­vant set­ting for NSCLC — but many of the ex­perts aren’t cheer­ing along

AstraZeneca is rolling out the big guns this evening to provide a salute to their ADAURA data on Tagrisso at ASCO.

Cancer R&D chief José Baselga calls the disease-free survival data for their drug in an adjuvant setting of early stage, epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated NSCLC patients following surgery “momentous.” Roy Herbst, the principal investigator out of Yale, calls it “transformative.”

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Pablo Legorreta, founder and CEO of Royalty Pharma AG, speaks at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing Pablo: The world’s biggest drug roy­al­ty buy­er is go­ing pub­lic. And the low-key CEO di­vulges a few se­crets along the way

Pablo Legorreta is one of the most influential players in biopharma you likely never heard of.

Over the last 24 years, Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma group has become, by its own reckoning, the biggest buyer of drug royalties in the world. The CEO and founder has bought up a stake in a lengthy list of the world’s biggest drug franchises, spending $18 billion in the process — $2.2 billion last year alone. And he’s become one of the best-paid execs in the industry, reaping $28 million from the cash flow last year while reserving 20% of the cash flow, less expenses, for himself.

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Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Getty Images)

Sanofi CEO Paul Hud­son has $23B burn­ing a hole in his pock­et. And here are some hints on how he plans to spend that

Sanofi has reaped $11.1 billion after selling off a big chunk of its Regeneron stock at $515 a share. And now everyone on the M&A side of the business is focused on how CEO Paul Hudson plans to spend it.

After getting stung in France for some awkward politicking — suggesting the US was in the front of the line for Sanofi’s vaccines given American financial support for their work, versus little help from European powers — Hudson now has the much more popular task of managing a major cash cache to pull off something in the order of a big bolt-on. Or two.

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David Chang, Allogene CEO (Jeff Rumans)

Head­ed to PhII: Al­lo­gene CEO David Chang com­pletes a pos­i­tive ear­ly snap­shot of their off-the-shelf CAR-T pi­o­neer

Allogene CEO David Chang has completed the upbeat first portrait of the biotech’s off-the-shelf CAR-T contender ALLO-501 at virtual ASCO today, keeping all eyes on a drug that will now try to go on to replace the first-wave personalized pioneers he helped create.

The overall response rate outlined in Allogene’s abstract for treatment-resistant patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma slipped a little from the leadup, but if you narrow the patient profile to treatment-naïve patients — removing the 3 who had previous CAR-T therapy who didn’t respond, leaving 16 — the ORR lands at 75% with a 44% complete response rate. And 9 of the 12 responders remained in response at the data cutoff, offering a glimpse on durability that still has a long way to go before it can be completely nailed down.

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Ku­ra flash­es pos­i­tive HRAS da­ta on once-failed J&J drug

Troy Wilson was working with J&J on their KRAS inhibitor and periodically thumbing through their publications when he spotted an old drug called tipifarnib that looked promising. So promising, in fact, that the large pharma had run it through over 5,000 patients across 70 trials, hoping they would at some point be able to nail down who were the small slice of patients who responded in some studies.

Af­ter star­ring at ASH last fall, Gilead’s new Forty Sev­en crew col­ors in more promis­ing da­ta for ma­grolimab at AS­CO

We now know the full, early-stage story behind the drug that inspired Gilead CEO Dan O’Day’s recent $5 billion acquisition of Forty Seven.

Following up on their ASCO abstract from a couple of weeks ago, the team at Forty Seven is making their return appearance this week holding clearly promising early-stage data on their lead drug magrolimab as they ponder whether they should roll on a quest to obtain an accelerated approval.

Sanofi brings in 4 new ex­ec­u­tives in con­tin­ued shake-up, as vac­cines and con­sumer health chief head out the door

In the middle of Sanofi’s multi-pronged race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, David Loew, the head of their sprawling vaccines unit, is leaving – part of the final flurry of moves in the French giant’ months-long corporate shuffle that will give them new-look leadership under new CEO Paul Hudson.

The company also said today that Alan Main, the head of their consumer healthcare unit, is out, and they named 4 executives to fill new or newly vacated positions, 3 of whom come from both outside both Sanofi and from Pharma.

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Pfiz­er, Mer­ck KGaA ce­ment Baven­cio blad­der can­cer win with OS da­ta — while carv­ing an­oth­er niche in rare can­cer

Pfizer and Merck KGaA have detailed the Phase III data that inspired FDA regulators to designate Bavencio a “breakthrough” for first-line advanced bladder cancer and offered an early glance at how the PD-L1 can help patients with a rare gynecological cancer — carving out niches in the checkpoint space for itself after being shut out of numerous others.

In JAVELIN Bladder 100, Bavencio led to a 31% reduction in risk of death compared to standard care alone. It also extended median survival by more than seven months — a historic feat in this setting, according to investigators at Queen Mary University of London.