NKY Medical Holdings Ltd (300109: SZ) injected CNY 100 million into a Biotech startup in Shanghai, titled Huadao Bio-Medicine (华道生物), in a move to forge ahead in the CAR-T development race. CAR-T, yet another technique in utilizing cell therapy for cancer, is regarded as one of the most sophisticated therapies in cancer and has attracted significant PE/VC investment since 2018, in China.
Huadao, a latecomer for China's immuno-oncology field, was established in September 2017 under the motto "Affordable cell therapy for China's middle class," and received its Series A financings from New Horizon Capital (新天域资本) and Oceanpine Capital (海松医疗基金).
Indeed, several others trying to conquer the same field in China. I-Mab Biopharma (天境生物), a Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical startup, which was rumoured to go public in 2019, has been one of the most assertive privately-held immuno-oncology firms in China. Over three rounds, the company has raised USD 370 million as of August 2019; and is seeking up to $40 million in private funding round, Bloomberg speculated.
However, China is lagging in the development of CAR-T. Biopharma projects from Europe, Israel and the USA are dominating the scene since the beginning of 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, the public market has shown its interest in advanced therapeutics stocks, in which most of them are developing CAR-T: the companies have raised over USD 1 billion in their IPOs, the report revealed.
The investor, NKY Medical, is a publicly-traded chemical producer on the Shenzhen bourse and it is operating in numerous arms, including biopharma. Its share price dropped around 5% after the latest trade and exchange rate disputes.
Huadao claimed to create China's first fully-independent CAR- T Industrial transformation and production technology platform with entirely-owned intellectual properties. Indeed, the company is targeting an area where there is vast room to improve within the mainland.