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State-backed VC Fuels China's CRO Scene, Investing over 75 million into Biocytogen
COVID-19 and China
A laboratory mouse. Image: Credit to Pixabay

Biocytogen (百奥赛图), a Beijing-based animal gene-editing focused CRO, announced that it had completed CNY 543 million from state-backed investors, including China Life Healthcare Fund and SDIC Venture Capital.

SDIC Venture Capital — one of the fund management arms of State Development & Investment Corporation — has long been pouring capital into the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. In January 2019, SDIC VC led CNY 400 million Series A financing into another entrusted biopharmaceutical research entity, which operates in the USA and China, MabPlex International. The fund's management capacity is about RMB 14 billion, SDIC VC publicized.

Contract Research Organizations (CROs) exist to fill one essential chain in Biopharmaceutical industry, research and trial. In 2018, global spending on pharmaceutical research and development found USD 172 billion and set to be over USD 204 billion by the end of 2024. Globally, USD 37 billion flew into CROs in 2018 with a growth of around 8%.

Biocytogen is a proclaimed international company: headquartered in China, serving both Chinese and global companies. The company has subsidiaries in Beijing, Shanghai, Haimen, Jiangsu and Boston. The company announces "close cooperation" with multinational pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Takeda, EMD and Sanofi.

The general manager of the investment unit at SDIC Venture Capital, Gao Aiming (高爱民) stressed on China's increasingly significant role in Biotech, stating "Considering the current international and domestic macro-environment, we as investors, should have a sense of historical mission and take the conjectural responsibilities. We will continue to support Biocytogen and promote the development of China's biopharmaceutical industry by creating more global CROs."

WuXi AppTec Co Ltd (603259: SH) stands as the only Chinese company that could manage to boost its market cap and became amongst the global vanguards, and indeed Mr Gao has his point: Chinese CRO sector has to be supported and incentivized, in order to be globally competitive. 

However, as the third party in the biopharmaceutical industry chain, the overall development in China's biopharmaceutical industry will be the determinant factor deciding to what extent China's CROs can thrive their business, not an only capital injection. 

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