Chinese Drug Developer CANbridge Raises USD 98 Million
COVID-19 and China
A hand is picking medicine from a pill organizer. Credit to Laurynas Mereckas on Unsplash

On February 18, CANbridge Pharmaceuticals announced the completion of a USD 980 million Series D financing. General Atlantic and WuXi AppTec led the round, participated by RA Capital Hudson Bay Capital, YuanMing Prudence Fund, and Tigermed. It is another large-size financing this year in bio-pharmacy, after Hillhouse’s CNY 2.31 billion private placement in Asymchen on February 16, only two days ago.

The money will be spent on accelerating and expanding the company’s rare disease pipeline, further building its commercial infrastructure and business management and bankrolling its working capital. The two leading investors both have the option to invest more, up to an additional $10 million, upon meeting certain conditions with CANbridge.

CANbridge Pharmaceuticals, a global biopharmaceutical company, was founded in 2012 and has been dedicated to exploring life-changing therapeutics for rare diseases. With a close eye on the urgent demand for the new cures in China or other markets, the Beijing-based firm engages in extensive cooperation with multiple anti-cancer research institutions globally and undertakes late-stage clinical drug development. Its new drug, ‘Hunterase®’ for treatment of Hunter syndrome, has filed a New Drug Application (NDA) and is set for commercialization in 2020.

“That most of this capital comes from global life science investors indicates the level of enthusiasm CANbridge is generating on the world stage as an industry leader in rare diseases in China,” Ph.D. James Xue (薛群), the founder, Chairman and CEO said. He was the former Genzyme executive and founding general manager of Genzyme China. 

As the leading investor, WuXi AppTech is a giant in the CRO (Contract Research Organization) field, laying out along the whole pre-marketing process of a new drug. With full capabilities of research and manufacturing for small molecule drugs, cell and gene therapies, it can further lever its open-access platform to facilitate the commercial production and marketing for CANbridge. WuXi expects to hold 13.11% shares of CANbridge after this round, enhancing its involvement since the Series B.

Another investor, General Atlantic, is an international growth equity firm for capital and strategic support for growth companies. With a long-term investment horizon, its investments mainly focus on the consumer industry, financial services, healthcare, and technology.

In the arena of the early research stage of a new drug, Pharmaron is one of the leading players, serving 18 out of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies. There is an increasingly apparent trend that sees capable medical companies in the clinical study phase move upward to acquire stronger R&D capabilities in the study of several rare diseases. 

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