Apollomics raises $100M to fund transpacific cancer R&D plan

Don't get too excited about the 90-day ceasefire in the US-China trade war (Image Darwel / iStockPhoto)
Apollomics has built its pipeline through a series of deals, many of which have given it ex-China rights. (Darwel/iStockPhoto)

Apollomics has raised $100 million to fund a multifront oncology clinical trial program while moving its headquarters from China to California. The series B round sets Apollomics up to advance its c-Met inhibitor and pipeline of other clinical-phase assets.

OrbiMed Asia-backed Apollomics, formerly known as CBT Pharmaceuticals, has been busy since it pulled in close to $10 million in series A funds in 2016. Through partnerships with companies such as Beijing Pearl Biotechnology, Apollomics has created a pipeline of small molecules and monoclonal antibodies that are currently being tested in 10 clinical trials.

That done, Apollomics has raised $100 million in a series B led by CMB International, a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank. The round will support Apollomics through a period in which it will step up its global ambitions by relocating its headquarters from China to Foster City, California.

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The move will leave Apollomics with a headquarters in the U.S., R&D and manufacturing capabilities in China and a presence in Australia. Apollomics will use this global infrastructure and the series B money to advance multiple cancer drugs that are already in or near the clinic as monotherapies and in combination with other assets.

Apollomics initially assessed its assets as monotherapies but committed fully to combinations last year with the initiation of its Apollo clinical trials program. The program is assessing combinations such as c-Met inhibitor bozitinib with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo or Apollomics’ anti-PD-1 drug in renal cell and hepatocellular carcinoma.

A combination involving bozitinib and epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor APL-103 is in the works, too, and Apollomics is advancing other assets toward the clinic, initially as monotherapies. The current preclinical pipeline features a multikinase inhibitor and an anti-CTLA-4 antibody.

Apollomics has built this pipeline of programs through a series of deals, many of which have given it rights to drugs outside of China. By striking such deals and setting up offices in the West, Apollomics is positioning itself to bring the fruits of China’s blossoming R&D sector to patients around the world. 

The big clinical tests that will validate whether Apollomics can deliver on that strategy are still to come. But with $100 million in the bank and CMB and OrbiMed in its corner, Apollomics has the resources to move toward those tests. 

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