With new $10.6B fund, Hill­house Cap­i­tal sets the stage for splashy Asia-fo­cused biotech deals

Hav­ing thrown its weight be­hind some of the biggest biotech fi­nanc­ing rounds of the year, Chi­na’s pri­vate eq­ui­ty pow­er­house Hill­house Cap­i­tal has re­loaded with a $10.6 bil­lion fund.

Lei Zhang

Oth­er than health­care, Hill­house Fund IV will al­so pur­sue op­por­tu­ni­ties in con­sumer, tech­nol­o­gy and ser­vices sec­tors glob­al­ly, though Asia re­mains the key fo­cus. It’s one of the largest pri­vate eq­ui­ty fundrais­ings in 2018, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

Hill­house founder and Yale grad­u­ate Lei Zhang made a name for him­self with ear­ly bets on tech gi­ants like Ten­cent and Baidu. The firm played a sim­i­lar­ly leg­endary role in WuXi AppTec’s $3.3 bil­lion take-pri­vate deal in 2015, and fol­lowed it up with deals in­volv­ing In­novent Bi­o­log­ics, BeiGene and Shang­hai Jun­shi — some of Chi­na’s buzzi­est shops these days.

Michael Yi

This year alone, Hill­house was promi­nent­ly fea­tured in Grail’s mon­ster $300 mil­lion round and I-Mab Bio­phar­ma’s $200 mil­lion Se­ries C (which it calls the largest ever for a Chi­nese biotech). It al­so led a $230 mil­lion raise by Fa­heem Has­nain for Gos­samer Bio, his next start­up ven­ture af­ter Re­cep­tos.

Many of these would be the work of Michael Yi, Hill­house’s dili­gent — if low pro­file — prin­ci­pal fo­cused on health­care deals. At a time transpa­cif­ic VC deals are teem­ing with Chi­nese in­vestors, es­tab­lished names like Yi are still in hot de­mand for the cred­i­bil­i­ty and ex­pe­ri­ence they lend.

“We are deeply grate­ful for the on­go­ing trust of our part­ners,” Zhang said in a state­ment. “We look for­ward to work­ing with in­no­va­tion-mind­ed, world-class busi­ness­es and man­age­ment teams seek­ing to de­ploy tech­nol­o­gy-dri­ven so­lu­tions to cre­ate val­ue for all stake­hold­ers.”


Im­age: Bei­jing’s fi­nan­cial dis­trict Shut­ter­stock

MedTech clinical trials require a unique regulatory and study design approach and so engaging a highly experienced CRO to ensure compliance and accurate data across all stages is critical to development milestones.

In­no­v­a­tive MedTech De­mands Spe­cial­ist Clin­i­cal Tri­al Reg­u­la­to­ry Af­fairs and De­sign

Avance Clinical is the Australian CRO for international biotechs providing world-class clinical research services with FDA-accepted data across all phases. With Avance Clinical, biotech companies can leverage Australia’s supportive clinical trials environment which includes no IND requirement plus a 43.5% Government incentive rebate on clinical spend. The CRO has been delivering clinical drug development services for international biotechs for FDA and EMA regulatory approval for the past 24 years. The company has been recognized for the past two consecutive years with the prestigious Frost & Sullivan CRO Best Practices Award and a finalist in Informa Pharma’s Best CRO award for 2022.

Tony Coles, Cerevel CEO

Cerev­el takes the pub­lic of­fer­ing route, with a twist — rais­ing big mon­ey thanks to ri­val da­ta

As public biotechs seek to climb out of the bear market, a popular strategy to raise cash has been through public offerings on the heels of positive data. But one proposed raise Wednesday appeared to take advantage not of a company’s own data, but those from a competitor.

Cerevel Therapeutics plans to raise $250 million in a public offering and another $250 million in debt, the biotech announced Wednesday afternoon, even though it did not report any news on its pipeline. However, the move comes days after rival Karuna Therapeutics touted positive Phase III data in schizophrenia, a field where Cerevel is pursuing a similar program.

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Who are the women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for End­points' 2022 spe­cial re­port

Over the past three years, Endpoints News has spotlighted 60 women who have blazed trails and supercharged R&D across the biopharma world. And judging from the response we’ve received, to both our special reports and live events, telling their stories — including any obstacles they may have had to overcome — has inspired our readers in many different ways.

But change takes time, and the fact remains that women are still underrepresented at the upper ranks of the drug-making world.

Bernat Olle, Vedanta Biosciences CEO

Cit­ing 'chal­leng­ing eco­nom­ic en­vi­ron­ment,' PhI­II-ready mi­cro­bio­me biotech lays off 20% of staffers

The market downturn isn’t just sweeping up public biotechs.

Vedanta Biosciences, a developer of oral drugs derived from the human microbiome, is laying off about 20% of its staff — an unfortunately common occurrence these days. But CEO Bernat Olle took the unusual step of sharing the decision on LinkedIn and offering to connect the employees being let go with any company that’s hiring in their areas.

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Hervé Affagard, MaaT Pharma CEO

One year in­to clin­i­cal hold, FDA has more ques­tions about 'pooled' mi­cro­bio­me ther­a­py

The FDA is still wary about a trial testing a microbiome therapy in patients with steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD).

A year after MaaT Pharma’s IND application in the US was first met with a clinical hold, the French biotech said the agency is maintaining the hold. The crux of the matter, MaaT suggested, has to do with the way it puts together its drug candidate, which is administered as an enema (i.e. an injection of fluid into the bowel).

Up­dat­ed: Amid mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing, Bio­gen looks to re­duce phys­i­cal pres­ence in Boston

Biogen is putting a sizable chunk of office and research space in Kendall Square and Weston, MA up for sublease, marking another big change as the biotech grapples with the aftershock of a disastrous and controversial rollout for its Alzheimer’s drug.

The subbleases are “part of Biogen’s overall implementation of the ‘Future of Work,’ which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model,” Biogen spokesperson Ashleigh Koss wrote in a statement to Endpoints News, adding that the company has had subleases across several buildings for years.

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Lorenz Mayr, Vector BioPharma CEO (PhoreMost)

Up­dat­ed: 'Close to the mid­dle': Ver­sant launch­es Vec­tor with 'gut­less ade­n­ovirus' de­liv­ery method

Most of the gene therapy world centers around viral vectors, but a few biotechs have sprung up in recent years to try and avoid the safety issues that can come with adeno-associated viruses.

A new biotech has emerged to straddle somewhere “close to the middle,” in the words of Alex Mayweg, Versant managing director and board member of the incubator’s latest startup, Vector BioPharma.

Pfiz­er launch­es re­bate pro­gram for rare dis­ease pa­tients who have to stop tak­ing Panzy­ga

Pfizer is launching its second-ever rebate program, this time for Panzyga, its treatment for a rare neurological disease of the peripheral nerves.

The program began last month, according to STAT which first reported the news, and offers a refund of out-of-pocket costs for patients who must discontinue their course before the fifth treatment for “clinical reasons.”

Panzyga was approved back in 2018 to treat primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients two years and older and chronic immune thrombocytopenia (cITP) in adults. It has since picked up an indication in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a condition that’s characterized by weakness of the arms or legs, tingling or numbness, and a loss of deep tendon reflexes, according to the NIH.

Horizon's back-to-school campaign for children with cystinosis includes an all about me poster as part of a care package box.

Hori­zon read­ies kids and fam­i­lies for back to school with week­long ac­tiv­i­ties around rare dis­ease cysti­nosis

Going back to school is usually a bumpy readjustment from summer freedom for all kids, but especially for kids with chronic health conditions. Horizon Therapeutics is hoping to help smooth the way for some who have the rare disease cystinosis. Cystinosis is a genetic disease that causes the amino acid cystine to build up in different tissues and organs.

The “Gear Up” for school campaign is running all week with different online and at-home events and activities for families and children with cystinosis. Each family who signed up receives a care package mailed to their home including an activity coloring book “Michael’s Show-and-Tell.” The book tells Michael’s story about living with cystinosis while offering kids matching, coloring and finding object games along with information.

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