China, Venture

Ramping up in-house drug development, API maker BrightGene bags $80M round led by Sequoia China

A Chinese biotech armed with an arsenal of APIs and finished dosage forms of specialty generic drugs has just raised $80 million (RMB$550 million) to speed up development of its own innovative drugs.

While BrightGene has built up new drug candidates that are “globally novel,” CEO Jiandong Yuan says in a statement, the research and clinical progress has been slow because the funding has been flowing in incrementally via the company’s own revenue stream.

Jiandong Yuan

Those assets include “immuno-oncological therapeutic agents, orally available GLP-1RA peptides for type 2 diabetes, antibody drug conjugates for solid tumor, novel non-antibody dependent tumor targeting conjugates for brain cancer and solid tumor brain-metastasis,” according to the company website, which was scant on details.

Meanwhile, parts of the financing — which BrightGene is calling a pre-IPO round — will go toward enhancing the manufacturing capacity of the API factory and constructing an injectable facility that is expected to become the company’s chief source of revenue.

Sequoia Capital China and Highlight Capital were co-leaders of the round, while GF Qianhe participated.

The company’s team of 300 is most spread between a headquarters in Suzhou, China, a chemical plant in nearby Taizhou and a fermentation facility in the southwestern city of Chongqing. BrightGene has also set up offices in the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.

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