China cancer biotech Antengene gets off $21M series A

This comes as "China’s new drug development is at a critical moment," according to Qiming's managing partner.

Antengene has gained a healthy $21 million series A just a few months after setting up a deal with Celgene.

The investment was led by major Chinese VC Qiming Venture Partners, and TF Capital, HG Capital and Tigermed Investment also joined the round.

Antengene said in a brief update that it plans to use the cash to push on with work and sales prep for ATG-008 in Asian regions (including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and other countries). The release, however, gave no details about the med.

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Antengene said it has also kick-started development of its manufacturing facilities in Shaoxing and an “ongoing effort to further expand its product portfolio of both pipeline assets at clinical development stage and mature products,” according to a statement.

Back in April, the upstart biotech, founded just last year, penned a deal with Celgene and CRO Tigermed that saw the U.S. Big Biotech license out rights to develop its cancer candidate, the TORC1/2 inhibitor CC-223, in East and Southeast Asia to Antengene. Financial details were not disclosed.

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Jay Mei, founder and CEO of Antengene—who has also seen stints at Celgene, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson—said: “We are very pleased to receive support and acknowledgement from four of the leading healthcare investors and welcome new investors to join us.

“Antengene will continue to leverage strong internal team expertise as well as external resources to expand collaborations with both our peers in the industry and the academic research institutions in development of innovative medicines in challenging therapeutic areas, such as oncology, where there are huge unmet medical needs for patients around the world.”

William Hu, managing partner of Qiming Venture Partners, added: “China’s new drug development is at a critical moment, the next ten years of development and achievements will determine whether China can truly become a new driving force for new drug development worldwide. Antengene and its whole team will play an important role in promoting the development process. Qiming will continue to support the team with deep insight and focus to achieve the dreams!”