China’s KBP gains GlaxoSmithKline executive as chief, an American headquarters and a cash boost

The China-based biotech is looking for a firm U.S. footprint with a move to Philadelphia. (Image: IQRemix / CC BY-SA 2.0)

KBP Biosciences has raised $76 million as it eyes a new headquarters in the U.S. and a new chief executive in the form of ex-GlaxoSmithKline veteran Brian McVeigh.

The biotech, founded by Dr. Zhen Hua Huang in Jinan, China, is looking to broaden its geographic footprint as its uses its series A cash toward a new global corporate HQ in the Greater Philadelphia Area. It also nabs McVeigh, who was most recently GlaxoSmithKline’s VP of worldwide business development transactions and investment management.

At the British Big Pharma, he also managed its portfolio of R&D equity investments in biotech partners, as well as early-stage venture capital funds, putting him in good stead for the world of biotech.

KBP said it “has developed a medicinal chemistry platform and world-class preclinical development team to identify and progress products with known mechanisms of action in areas of unmet medical need in cardiovascular, infectious disease, respiratory, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”

It’s working on a number of candidates, including mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist KBP-5074, its leading candidate, with some of that $76 million helping the biotech push on with phase 2b tests for cardiovascular disease.

There’s a host of other, earlier candidates too, including KBP-7072, a 3G aminomethylcycline for multiresistant bacterial infections that has completed phase 1 and gotten an FDA "Fast Track," and KBP-7026, a CRTH2 receptor antagonist targeting asthma/COPD, with an approved IND and thus poised to start phase 1 trials.

Financing was co-led by Advantech Capital and SDIC Venture Capital, with participation from Sangel Capital, Ping An Ventures, Bay City Capital GF XINDE Life Science Investment Fund, Efung Capital, CASH Capital, Cowin Capital Group, Korea Investment Partners and Elite Capital.

“We are pleased to have attracted this funding from prestigious investors to expand and establish a global presence and maximize the value of our scientific platform and clinical programs,” said Huang.

“We are excited to welcome Brian McVeigh to the company as his leadership skills and experience building and leading multi-national organizations, vast knowledge of the international pharmaceutical industry, track record for delivery and business development acumen will help us grow KBP into a global company with the capability to leverage the programs in our pipeline through external collaborations.”

“This is an incredibly exciting time to join KBP Biosciences,” added McVeigh. “The infusion of capital from the series A will enable us to rapidly pursue our vision of growing KBP from its roots as a China-based preclinical development organization into a truly global enterprise with world-class clinical development and commercialization capabilities driving the delivery of important new medicines to patients.

“We plan to advance KBP-5074 into phase 2b clinical trials in early 2018, launch our new global headquarters in the U.S., augment our preclinical development team based in China, and continue to develop our robust pipeline of innovative NCEs targeting areas of unmet medical need through strategic business development opportunities and collaborations.”

The thinking behind the Greater Philadelphia Area move is that it “allows KBP to access the exceptional talent base in the region which uniquely includes scientific and business graduates from top universities, experienced biotech entrepreneurs and leading experts in pharmaceutical R&D and commercialization with extensive experience gained by working for global pharmaceutical companies,” the company says.

The biotech already has a U.S. affiliate in Princeton, New Jersey, which is responsible for clinical development and registration.

Check out its pipeline.