Shanghai drugmaker Hua hauls in $117M megaround, with plans for hefty Hong Kong IPO

A diabetes drugmaker recently rumored to be planning a massive Hong Kong IPO has raised a $117 million mega-round with backing from some of the biggest investors in both China and the US.

Hua Medicine said the new influx of cash would take the company’s lead drug candidate all the way through Phase III trials and through commercial launch in China.

The company’s lead drug, dorzagliatin, helps type 2 diabetes patients by working on an enzyme that acts as a “glucose sensor,” regulating the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. The oral medicine, a fourth generation glucokinase activator, essentially treats the impaired blood glucose function, thereby addressing the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes.

Li Chen

Hua’s CEO Li Chen — who previously worked for Roche’s China operations as CSO — told South China Morning Post that he sees Hua bringing the product to market by 2020, burning through $200 million along the way.

The Shanghai-based company, founded in 2011, has attracted investment from a slew of high profile investors. The latest mega-round was a combined Series D and Series E, the company said, including new investors Blue Pool Capital Limited, GIC Private Limited, AVICT Global, 6 Dimensions Capital, billionaire heir Adrian Cheng, Ping An Ventures, and Mirae Asset Financial Group, among other healthcare funds. The round also included cash from existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital Partners, Venrock, WuXi Apptec Corporate Ventures, and others.

“With this round of financing, we will continue our efforts to advance the development of dorzagliatin so that its novel, beneficial disease-modifying effects can be shared with type 2 diabetes patients in China first, and then globally,” Chen said in a statement.

Hua Medicine was recently rumored to be planning a $300 million to $400 million IPO on Hong Kong’s now-trending stock exchange. Reported by both Bloomberg and Reuters, the IPO was expected in the second half of 2018.

Shanghai, China city skyline on the Huangpu River. SHUTTERSTOCK

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Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
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Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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