HiFiBiO raises $67M in Kite-backed series C round

Liang Schweizer (left) and Jeff He, respectively CEO and Chief Operations Officer of HiFiBiO (HiFiBiO)

HiFiBiO Therapeutics has raised a $67 million series C round to advance its pipeline of oncology and autoimmune candidates. IDG Capital led the round with the support of a clutch of other existing and new investors, including Gilead’s CAR-T unit Kite Pharma.

Global biotech HiFiBiO pulled in the cash on the strength of its single-cell profiling technology and other capabilities, plus the pipeline of antibodies to treat cancers and autoimmune diseases they have spawned. HiFiBiO thinks the tools enable it to quickly identify therapeutic molecules that have an above-average chance of succeeding in the clinic.

Key parts of that hypothesis remain untested. HiFiBiO is yet to share a close look at its drug pipeline, limiting itself to comments about a focus on regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and claims that multiple candidates have achieved preclinical proof of concept.

HiFiBiO expects multiple preclinical candidates to make the leap to human testing and now has the means to work towards that goal. New investor IDG led the series C with the support of Sequoia Capital China, VI Ventures and other financiers that participated in previous rounds. 

Other new investors also came on board for the series C. HiFiBiO now lists Delian Capital, Hanne Capital and Kite among its investors. 

Kite teamed up with HiFiBiO 10 months ago, paying $10 million for the chance to help tailor its new partner’s single cell technology to the identification of shared antigen and neoantigen T cell receptors (TCRs). The collaboration, which Kite hopes will lead to TCRs for use in cell therapies, is one of a number of deals HiFiBiO struck in the wake of closing a $37.5 million series B in May 2018.

HiFiBiO also entered into a multitarget antibody discovery agreement with Takeda, positioning it to use its single-cell platform on targets of interest to the Japanese company, and struck deals to further its own programs. In October, HiFiBiO acquired H-Immune Therapeutics to bolster its ability to find immuno-oncology targets. Two months later, HiFiBiO set up a joint venture with Vikas Sukhatme.