China, Venture

Zai Lab CEO Samantha Du is raising a $150M biotech fund

Samantha Du

Shanghai-based Zai Lab isn’t just working on its own pipeline of drugs anymore. CEO Samantha Du, a Pfizer vet who helped start Hutchison MediPharma, has outlined plans to raise $150 million for a new venture fund of her own.

Details are hard to come by, but Du filed the paperwork on the venture fund with the SEC last week.

Over the past year, Zai Lab executed a string of regional development pacts with Tesaro (niraparib), GSK (unnamed anti-inflammatory drugs) and Paratek (omadacycline), which were fed into a pipeline that now has seven programs underway. The biotech has also launched discovery work with investigators at Tsinghua University. And a little more than a year ago the company raised $100 million in venture cash.

Over the past few years biotech has been booming in China, and Zai Lab has been one of the most prominent examples of a new wave of drug developers with ambitious plans for the massive Chinese drug market. Just yesterday WuXi App Tec joined a syndicate that provided a $25 million round to Beijing-based CANbridge Life Sciences. WuXi is a major contract research firm in Shanghai which has extensive global contacts in the industry.

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