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News Jun 14, 2020 03:37 pm EqualOcean

Burning Rock Successfully Lands on NASDAQ: Up 50% on the Open with a Market Cap of over USD 2.5 Billion

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Sep 10, 2020 11:48 am ·

After China's BNR and GTH Hit Nasdaq, Pan-Cancer Detector GRAIL Eyes IPO

GRAIL, a US biotechnology company focused on early-stage pan-cancer screening, recently applied for an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. Backed up by the genetic-sequencing giant Illumina (ILMN:Nasdaq), the California-based company aims to find early-stage signs of cancer by examining a small amount of blood. The company raised a total fund of USD 1.69 billion in the previous four rounds, whose investors included Bill Gates and Bezos Expeditions. If the IPO goes smoothly, GRAIL will be the third Nasdaq-listed biotech company based on Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology in the early-stage cancer detection area. Earlier in June, two Chinese companies, Burning Rock (BNR:Nasdaq) and Genetron Health (GTH:Nasdaq), went public on Nasdaq, raising the tide of genetic studies for cancer detection.  The demand for early-stage cancer screening is a universal one, with implications for all parts of a person's life cycle. In China, there is an enormous market potential, one expected to reach USD 170 billion in 2023. The top cancer types vary from country to country – the most damaging kinds in China are lung cancer and digestive systems cancers, while colorectal cancer wreaks havoc in the US. Pan-cancer studies tend to take a longer period to lead to technological breakthroughs. From a technology perspective, different players apply different methodologies. On a timeline logic, all trials can be divided into retrospective and prospective. For early-stage screening, the prospective trials take more time and costs and demand a higher precision requirement. In this money-losing competition, the tremendous future potential is the driver behind all the investments. A key takeaway at this moment is the need to deploy resources and build early business connections for the coming commercialization plans. When the technology is comparable, the marketing and selling area can be a critial success factor. In China's blue-ocean market, Genetron Holdings has already moved ahead, compared to Burning Rock. As indicated in the prospectus, the company has implemented several commercial moves, such as collaboration with hospitals, key opinion leaders (KOLs), commercial insurance service providers and medical examination centers (iKang Healthcare Group).  On top of the research cooperation and market expansion, the company has the ambition of building a to-C business model by co-developing customized insurance products and providing liver cancer early screening services via medical examination chain stops. As shown in the selling and marketing expense ratio, Genetron Holdings has been nibbling the market share of its competitors in China.  

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Aug 23, 2020 08:23 am ·

AI Is Transforming China's Healthcare Industry

► AI healthcare is an inevitable trend across the global, especially in the emerging market. ► Chinese AI healthcare companies are getting more mature, forming the industry landscape. Artificial intelligence, as a fundamental technology, can help power almost any industry. As one of the tier-one countries with the most AI hubs, China is experiencing a national digitalization across many sectors and across multiples disciplines. At the mid-stage of its digital reshaping, the healthcare industry is lit with a limelight that no market watcher can miss. Generally, smart technology helps the healthcare industry grow faster on innovation, and helps it grow smarter in various healthcare services. So far, AI healthcare in China includes ten areas, including drug development, auxiliary diagnostics, auxiliary treatment, health management, rehabilitation, online consultations, health wearables, hospital management, precision medicines and biotechnology research. An inevitable trend: Global and domestic Undoubtedly, the concept of healthcare and AI is exciting to investors. The capital resources can never be too much for players in this area. On a global scale, the healthcare AI funding was up 14% on a QoQ-based CAGR. In China, the funding activities have calmed down to a healthy status since the peak time in 2018, with a total investment amount of CNY 7.9 billion, occurring in 66 deals. Compared to the continuously dynamic global investment environment, China's capital market for healthcare AI seems to have cooled down since last year. The average investment amount per deal is CNY 61.4 million, CNY 181.2 million and CNY 147 million from 2017 to 2019. The first two quarters in 2020 saw 26 transactions completed at a total of CNY 1.8 billion, with an average deal amount of CNY 69 million. There are 129 Chinese AI healthcare companies in 2020, excluding those in targeted genetic research. Among them, 55 firms are in medical imaging, representing 42.6% of the total AI healthcare players. Most of the AI medical applications are based in triple-A hospitals, but they show an accelerated expansion trend. Exploiting various healthcare demand Undoubtedly, AI technology can be leveraged in far more healthcare areas. Medical imaging is just a starter. But how far can AI go down the healthcare path? To have a rough idea about the potential, we can have a general look at the fundamental technology. The AI in China can be dissected into six perspectives: computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, speech conversion and speech interaction. As the underpinning technology, each angle of AI technology mentioned can vitalize niche healthcare segments on a technical level. Medical imaging and new drug discovery are two heated applications integrated with high-end AI. Besides, from a broader perspective, AI technology helps redistribute medical resources in an innovative way. On the one hand, it makes traditional medical facilities run smarter, faster and more effectively. The smart hospitals project has already been promoted in large-scale Chinese cities, following up on the great demand for electronic records, cloud records, data sharing, and online consultation. On the other hand, cloud technology connects doctors from end to end, making the medical expertise and knowledge more equal across regions. It is a well-known fact that China has a very unbalanced distribution of medical resources – almost 80% of medical resources are aggregated in 20% of hospitals. In contrast, grassroots clinics and hospitals in remote and lower-tier cities significantly lack high-quality supplies. Medical imaging for real-time surgeries makes it so that patients from everywhere consult prestigious expert doctors. Last but not least, one noteworthy fact is the fusion of multi-technologies in a stand-alone medical scenario. It implies that the medical demand for AI technology has been better understood and recognized. These medical demands are not a monolithic request but multi-faceted and technical-solution-demanding questions. The landscape of five primary healthcare segments Many AI healthcare companies have been trying out the market. The segment of medical imaging by far has grown to a heated red sea while other industries are experiencing the infant or booming stage. The AI technology has been used in these ten medical areas: drug development, auxiliary diagnostics, auxiliary treatment, health management, rehabilitation, online consultations, health wearables, hospital management, precision medicines and biotechnology research. However, from an industry perspective, we pick out some example companies in five primary healthcare segments. The AI healthcare is not a new concept anymore. As more companies in this field are eyeing the consumer market, the industry is starting to enter a mature phase. Meanwhile, some online healthcare companies – JD Health, Ping An Good Doctor and Ali Health – have been injecting AI technology into their consumer-oriented services.

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Jul 9, 2020 07:40 pm · Harbour Biomed

Anti-cancer Drug Maker Harbour Biomed Receives USD 102.8 M in Series C

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Jun 20, 2020 12:01 am ·

China’s Genetro Lands on Nasdaq, Following Burning Rock

Chinese cancer detection company Genetro (GTH:Nasdaq) successfully landed on the Nasdaq market at an issuance price of USD 16 and a valuation of USD 1.4 billion. Founded in 2013, this Being-based company has become one of the top players in Chinese diagnosis segments.  This is the second Chinese anti-cancer company to hit the US public market, following Burning Rock Biotech (BNR:Nasdaq), China’s largest NGS (Next-genetic Sequencing) company,  last week. Genetro mainly engages three business segments, including diagnosis and monitoring, early screening and services for pharmaceutical companies. Within six years since its inception, this Beijing-based company has continuously expanded its business, from brain cancer to multiple cancers, from fundamental research and market conversion to full-scale groups. In the genetic sequencing industry, there are three primary clinical business modes, including the provision of IVD products to the hospitals, providing LDT services through centered labs or collaborative labs with hospitals and providing assistance to patients through doctors’ recommendations via team recruitment and agent distributions. Now Genetro is taking on an ‘IVD+ LDT’ dual-mode. It has developed an HCC screen system to help detect early-stage cancer. Meanwhile, it has laid a deep deployment in medical research and development. So far, Genetro has established cooperation with over 500 triple-A hospitals across China, close to 100 hospitals more than disclosed in the 2019 prospectus. More than this, it has over seven IVD products approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), the leading one in the domestic segment. One noteworthy thing is that this medical device company realized a first-three quarter revenue of CNY 101 million, CNY 225 million and CNY 220 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The increase in revenue mainly comes from the diagnosis and monitoring business due to an improved penetration and growing market share. Beyond this, it is well expected to see a booming increase in early screening and pharmaceutical services as these two get more mature. The most significant value provided by Genetro is to commercialize genetic sequencing within the national hospital network. By working with healthcare KOLs and organizing medical seminars and meetings, etc., this company has figured out a way to land this cutting-edge technology into business scenarios and promote this high-quality service to millions of customers.

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Jun 19, 2020 10:20 am ·

Burning Rock Hits NASDAQ, Still Struggles to Make a Profit

► Burning Rock Biotech, China’s largest NGS cancer detection service provider, boarded on NASDAQ last Friday. The share price rose 50% on the first day with a market cap over USD 2.5 billion. ► Until now, the company hasn’t profited yet, with a loss of over CNY half a billion in the last four years. On June 12, Burning Rock Biotech (BNR:NASDAQ), the largest Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) cancer detection company in China, was officially listed on NASDAQ under the ticker BNR. This is the first Chinese NGS cancer testing company to go public at NASDAQ. The stock had an impressive first day on the market, with a 50% rise in share prices and a valuation of over USD 2.5 billion. Founded in 2014, the Guangzhou-based company has been focusing on precision oncology and early cancer detection, offering 13 Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based cancer treatment option tests for a variety type of cancers including lung, gastrointestinal and prostate cancer.  According to China Insights Consultancy (CIC), in the last year, Burning Rock owned the largest share 26.7% of China’s NGS-based cancer therapy selection market. The leadership cannot be realized without a clear business strategy. For a start, the company did a lot of research before choosing a track. Gene sequencing technology has many clinical applications and can be used to detect a wide range of genetic disorders. Among them, cancer therapy selection has the greatest commercialization potential. According to Southwest Securities, the cancer therapy selection will account for about 60% of the global gene testing market in 2020 and the number of patients receiving NGS-based cancer therapy selection in China is expected to increase from 0.2 million in 2019 to 1.8 million in 2030. Entering a hot market also means facing stiff competition. Burning Rock has won the game with a two-pronged commercial infrastructure, consisting of both central and in-hospital laboratories, which helped them maximize market penetration and create higher entry barriers. The central laboratory processes cancer patients’ tissue and liquid biopsy samples delivered from hospitals across China and issues test reports. It targets small-and-medium hospitals and accounts for the substantial majority of the company’s revenue. As of now, the company has built relationships with 4,162 physicians from 602 hospitals across China. The company is also the first to provide in-hospital testing services for large-scale hospitals desiring to conduct laboratory tests on their own. Since 2016, the company has started to offer turn-key solutions by cooperating with 44 Class III Grade A hospitals to establish their in-house laboratories, providing them with equipment, operation systems and reagent kits on a recurring basis. While revenue from the in-hospital model is still relatively small, the early and wide deploy has given the company an overwhelming 79.9% market share in the in-hospital segment of China’s NGS-based cancer therapy selection industry in terms of the number of patients tested in 2019, according to CIC.  Benefiting from its extensive layout and market penetration, Burning Rock then established its own proprietary database product, OncoDB, which contains more than 185,000 cancer treatment selection test results and is a cloud-based cancer genomic data ecosystem that facilitates broader, real-time clinically actionable genomic data exchange between physicians. While the company is growing in size and ahead of its peers, it still struggles to end losses: the prospectus shows that the company has a net loss of CNY 131 million, CNY 177 million and CNY 169 million, respectively from 2017 to 2019. Total losses have exceeded CNY 500 million in the last four years.  As a new-born industry, NGS requires a considerable amount of R&D and market exploring costs, which are the main factors preventing NGS companies from making money. In 2019, the company’s annual R&D and marketing expenses were as high as CNY 157 million and CNY 153 million, respectively, which accounted for approximately an annual 40% and 40% of total revenue. Burning Rock is not alone in this dilemma. The NGS-based cancer detection industry as a whole hasn’t yet achieve profitability. Another typical example is Genetron, the Chinese NGS-based testing company who is also about to board NASDAQ this Friday, lost CNY 1.56 billion for the last three years. In addition to the high R&D and marketing costs, the redundant approval processes, inconsistent regulation, and ethical controversies have also been barriers for NGS companies to make money. As of now, there are only seven NGS-based reagent kits approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).  Despite the deficit, investors remain optimistic about NGS companies anyway. Burning Rock’s share price surged 50% on its first day listed. Same goes with Exact Sciences, the US NGS giant founded in 1995, who barely broke even since last year yet valued around USD 13.4 billion. The confidences are not from nowhere.  While the companies still have to work patiently on a technology breakthrough that can bring down the R&D costs, a tangible drop in marketing expenses is around the corner. According to CIC, though the current penetration rate for NGS-based cancer therapy selection in China is relatively low, at 6.4% in 2019, the previous substantial investment in market cultivation is likely to be paid off when the number reaches 21% five years later. In addition, Chinese government departments have been releasing favorable policies, including covering 90% of gene testing expenses by Medical Insurance since June 2019, which is expected to boost the consumption considerably.  It's still too early for genetic testing companies to talk about profitability. But for Burning Rock, the new round of capital injection, together with the dropping expenditure and increasing demands, is taking the company one big step closer to the goal.

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Jun 17, 2020 12:44 pm ·

ImmVira Closes Series B of USD 58 Million Led by HG

ImmVira announced the closure of a Series B of USD 58 million this week. This deal was led by HG Capital, with participation from Apricot Capital and Cowin Capital, followed by the sequential investor Hillhouse Venture Capital. The Shenzhen-based startup will lever this bankroll to push the current five product pipelines, early-stage R&D in innovative drugs and potential cross-border cooperation. ImmVira’s first product, the oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) T3011 (given via intratumor injection), was granted the FDA’s implied approval this May. It is the first Chinese oncolytic virus vaccine that has ever been approved by FDA IND and is also the first one to be studied in the clinical stage in China, the US and Australia. Founded in 2015, this company was established by six scientists from the field of tumor oncolysis and immunity in the US. The Shenzhen-based startup has five ongoing pipelines with full coverage of all kinds of oncolytic tumors, including intravenous injection, intra-tumor injection, malignant brain tumors, oncolytic virus resistant to tumors and hematologic tumors. Among them, the pipelines specific to lung cancer and liver cancer are steadily being pushed forward. More and more product lines are expected to move into the clinical stages. Grace Zhou, the CEO and CSO of ImmVira, noted that the funding round is seen as a milestone for ImmVira to move from pre-clinical R&D to the clinical stage. “ImmVira has rich experience in the field of oncolytic viruses and has been dedicated to researching and developing the herpes oncolytic viruses and target oncolytic viruses,” says Mr. Zeng Zhiqiang, the managing partner of HG Capital. “Meanwhile, the rising strategy of China’s Grand Bay Area provides tremendous potential opportunities for this startup.” Indeed, biotechnology is no longer a scarce technological advantage solely dominated by foreign companies. Many Chinese startups backed up by many experienced scientists and researchers are continually seeking opportunities, and many have successfully hit an IPO even without profiting yet from the pipelines, such as I-Mab Bio (IMAB:Nasdaq), Burning Rock (BNR:Nasdq) and Legend Biotech (LEGN:Nasdaq). Equipped with China’s advantageous infrastructure and labor costs, made-in-China biotechs can explore more medical solutions to cure deadly diseases for the benefit of humankind.

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Jun 8, 2020 06:46 pm · eastmoney

Buring Rock Will Land on Nasdaq this Friday

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Updated 23 hours ago · Tencent Tech

JD Health’s New Move on Hong Kong IPO

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Sep 18, 2020 10:58 am · VCbeat

Biotech IMAB’s In-Process New Drug Enters Clinical Trials

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Sep 15, 2020 01:58 pm · VCbeat

3D Printing Precision Medicine Industry Park Lands in Hunan

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Sep 14, 2020 06:22 pm · VCbeat

Genor Biopharma Passes the Hearing for Hong Kong IPO

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Sep 10, 2020 12:42 pm · VCbeat

WeMed Secures CNY 100 Mn in Series C+ from GL Ventures

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