Beijing-based cancer genome sequencing company Geneplus (吉因加) has raised CNY 50 million (about USD 7.4 million) in its latest funding round led by its previous investor Beijing Genomics Institute (华大基因, BGI), according to iyiou.com. The injection gives Geneplus a valuation of about CNY 2 billion (about USD 296 million).
Founded in April 2015, Geneplus focuses on the cancer genome sequencing field. The company has researched and developed its core technologies such as ER-seq, IR-Seq, mTBI, and mClone. These technologies can be applied to precise tumor prevention and treatment, including tumor pharmacy, response evaluation, and postoperative monitoring. The company uses Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology and High Performance Computing (HPC) platforms to accumulate tumor genome big data and provide services to research and medical institutes.
Co-founders of Geneplus are with professional background of tumor genomics, clinical medicine and big data. YI Xin (易鑫), president and chief technology officer of the company, has been working in the tumor genomics and translational medicine fields for over decade, and he was the vice president of Beijing Genomics Institute before co-founded Geneplus.
The company's main investor, Beijing Genomics Institute, is a genome sequencing center headquartered in Shenzhen. The institute was formed in 1999 to participate in the Human Genome Project, and is the world's largest genetics reseatch center, according to Wikipedia. BGI Genomics, the institute's subsidiary, went public in July 2017 at Shenzhen Stock Exchange, raising CNY 547 million (about USD 80.7 million at that time), with the company's first-day valuation set at over USD 1.15 billion.
Another thing to notice is that BGI is in fact building a "BGI ecosystem", which aims to strategically integrate genomics companies in different directions by investment and acquisition so that they won't challenge BGI's leadership position in the commercial genomics field in China. This explains why BGI has invested Geneplus twice in 2 years.
Tumor genome sequencing, an emerging medical technology benefit from the Human Genome Project, plays a key role in the researching and use of tumor target medicine, the hope of cancer prevention.
There are 4 million new oncosis cases annually in China, according to a research report by JingData Academy (鲸准研究院), a startup and investment research institute based in Beijing. Given that there are much more relapse cases every year, it's for certain that there is an enormous tumor genome sequencing market in China. The research indicates that the potential market will be over CNY 10 billion in 5 years from middle 2018 when the report was released.
Compared to other players in the tumor genome sequencing area, Geneplus is more like a data-driven company. The company has accumulated over 60,000 tumor NGS testing samples, which is very important for building a tumor genomic big data platform. And the company will be able to collect 200,000 samples by the end of 2019, according to the above-mentioned report.