Gaxin Xia

Shang­hai biotech tack­ling kid­ney dis­ease gets an­oth­er round of cash

Four months af­ter a se­cre­tive Shang­hai biotech pulled in $60 mil­lion for a Se­ries B round, it’s re­turn­ing to the fore with a lit­tle more cash.

Ale­bund Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals closed a $54.5 mil­lion round it’s de­scrib­ing as “Se­ries B+,” the com­pa­ny an­nounced Mon­day evening, aim­ing to fur­ther ad­vance its kid­ney dis­ease pro­grams. Funds will go to­ward two clin­i­cal as­sets as well as the con­struc­tion of a man­u­fac­tur­ing site, Ale­bund said in a re­lease.

“The B+ fi­nanc­ing round once again shows glob­al in­vestors’ strong be­lief in Ale­bund’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­vel­op nov­el kid­ney dis­ease drugs,” CEO Gavin Xia said in a state­ment. “We are very grate­ful to the new and ex­ist­ing in­vestors who sup­port us to main­tain our lead­ing po­si­tion in re­nal ther­a­py in­no­va­tion and to pro­vide glob­al re­nal pa­tients with safe and ef­fec­tive ther­a­pies soon.”

The new round was led by 3H Health In­vest­ment, Loy­al Val­ley Cap­i­tal and Morn­ing­side Ven­tures, fol­lowed by Yuan­Bio Ven­ture Cap­i­tal, Oc­ta­gon Cap­i­tal, Veri­tion Fund Man­age­ment and HT Cap­i­tal. Old­er in­vestors in­clud­ing Lil­ly Asia Ven­tures, Quan Cap­i­tal, 3E Bioven­tures Cap­i­tal and Sher­pa Health­care Part­ners al­so par­tic­i­pat­ed.

End­points News has reached out to the com­pa­ny for com­ment.

Jin Tian

Much like with the Se­ries B an­nounce­ment, few de­tails emerged about the biotech in its an­nounce­ment, but it boast­ed of be­ing the first Chi­nese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny sole­ly fo­cus­ing on kid­ney dis­ease. Both of Ale­bund’s two clin­i­cal pro­grams are seek­ing to treat hy­per­phos­phatemia among the broad­er chron­ic kid­ney dis­ease pop­u­la­tion, with one in Phase II de­vel­op­ment.

That lead pro­gram is at­tempt­ing to treat the dis­ease with an old pro­gram orig­i­nal­ly de­vel­oped by the small South Dako­ta-based biotech Vi­dasym, ac­cord­ing to the clin­i­cal­tri­ reg­istry. Per a 2016 pa­per in the British Jour­nal of Phar­ma­col­o­gy, the pro­gram is de­rived from aca­cia tree sap and de­signed to bind to phos­phate in the blood with min­i­mal side ef­fects.

Jin Tian, who is a clin­i­cal con­sul­tant at Vi­dasym, is al­so co-founder and CMO of Ale­bund. Ale­bund hopes to launch a piv­otal Phase III study next year.

The CKD field in Chi­na has not made as many ad­vances in re­cent years as on­col­o­gy, and Ale­bund is os­ten­si­bly work­ing to fill that gap. Fi­bro­Gen did score an ap­proval for its ane­mia drug rox­adu­s­tat in Chi­na back in 2018 and in the EU last month, but the FDA re­ject­ed the com­pa­ny’s pitch to sell it in the US just a month ago.

Clar­i­fi­ca­tion: This ar­ti­cle has been up­dat­ed to clar­i­fy Jin Tian’s role at Vi­dasym. He is a clin­i­cal con­sul­tant, not the leader of clin­i­cal stud­ies. 

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