'The Great Globalization Forward' Continues in China's CRO Scene: dMed Secures New Round
COVID-19 and China
A marketing material of Wuxi AppTec, the largest CRO by he market capitalization in China. Image: Credit to Wuxi AppTec

So far, 2019 was a lucrative year for the third party researchers in the pharmaceutical industry of China. On October 16, yet another Chinese Contract Research Organization (CRO), dMed Biopharmaceutical (缔脉生物), announced the completion of a nearly USD 50 million Series B financing, led by healthcare-focused investor Vivo Capital (维梧资本).

Legend Capital (君联资本), Lilly Asia Ventures (礼来亚洲基金) and the company's former investor Qiming Venture Partners (启明创投) joined in this round as well. The company claimed to improve its research facilities and its global capacity in clinical development and product registration using the new capital injection. 

This round was not the first time that the Shanghai-based CRO ramped up its globalization efforts. The company had previously announced a partnership with a Manhattan-based CRO, Target Health, to help Western and Chinese biopharma and medical device companies capitalize on the rapid internationalization of clinical trials between the US and China.

But why globalization matters for Chinese CROs? China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), now under the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has made substantial changes in drug developing and distribution policies over the last three years. At the end of 2017, NMPA drafted a series of regulations, easing multinational drug developers' clinical trial applications in the mainland; and in the September of 2018, the Chinese regulators further facilitated the import of clinical data for the multinational drug developers into the mainland, bringing about new landing possibilities for the foreign novel drugmakers in Chinese market. 

In 2018, global spending on pharmaceutical research and development was around 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 rate of around 8%. USD 9.6  billion was spent in CRO related operations in China in 2018, Forward reported.

Qiming Venture, a Chinese TMT and Healthcare focused PE investment firm, extended its healthcare portfolio with another CRO by this investment. The VC had an extensive healthcare portfolio covering emerging companies from the biopharmaceutical industry, from the EO500 member novel drugmaker Jacobio (加科思) to the Tencent's new generation clinic WeDoctor (微医).

The VC claims to have invested in nearly 90 start-ups in the healthcare sector, mainly focusing on the "AI-related smart 'healthcare industry', making Qiming VC one of the most assertive healthcare investors of China.

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