Hengrui Therapeutics gains $100M investment to further cancer pipeline

Drugs and money

New Jersey-based startup Hengrui Therapeutics has been boosted by a $100 million investment as it looks to begin work on its I/O candidates.

Hengrui Therapeutics (HTI) said the cash came from HR Bio Holdings Limited--a JV between China healthcare firm Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (JHM--its parent company) and an undisclosed blue chip investment firm.

The money will be used to advance clinical trials in the company’s R&D, although exactly what these would be was not specified.

The company did say in a statement that its drug pipeline consists of “number of clinical-stage oncology and immuno-oncology assets,” but these have not yet been disclosed on its site or in any public statements.

“We are pleased to see the U.S. investment into HTI from our joint venture. It is an important step in our global development strategy,” said Piaoyang Sun, chairman of JHM and also chair of HTI. 

“We believe this level of capital funding will enable swift build-up of HTI’s infrastructure, thus adequately support the execution of its development projects in the U.S. and the rest of the world.”

Adam Zong, president and CEO of HTI, added: “It will lay a good foundation for our company’s long term growth. We are extremely pleased with the investment from HR Bio. With this strong infusion of capital, we at HTI can effectively support a robust, clinical staged pipeline and deliver innovative medicines to patients in need.”

Zong, formerly working for global business development and licensing in oncology at Merck ($MRK), helped launch HTI in February.

Its parent firm Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine is one of the largest ethical pharma companies in China, working on oncology, endocrinology, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, surgical products, and imaging agents. 

JHM has been working on expanding its U.S. presence in recent months, and in May the Lianyungang-based company signed a 3-year pact with the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, Houston with an immuno-oncology focus on combination therapies, personalized medicine and new treatment opportunities.

It also has a PD-1 drug candidate, SHR-1210, which last year it out-licensed ex-China rights to Incyte ($INCY) as it moves further into drug discovery.

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