Juno-WuXi AppTec JV JW Therapeutics nabs $100M for cell therapy push

Back in 2016, Juno Therapeutics (now owned by Celgene, now owned by Bristol Myers) and WuXi AppTec joined forces to create a new CAR-T biotech and in 2018 got off a meaty $90 million series A.

Now, that biotech, JW Therapeutics, is following that up with a bigger $100 million series B. The round was co-led by CPE and Mirae Asset and joined by CR-CP Life Science Fund and Oriza Holdings as well as existing investors including Loyal Valley Capital, Temasek, Sequoia Capital China and ARCH Venture Partners along with partners Juno and WuXi AppTec.

The Shanghai-based company combines Juno’s CAR-T platform with WuXi AppTec’s local know-how and its R&D and manufacturing platform.

Together, this has helped create its first CD19-directed investigational therapy, JWCAR029, a CAR-T therapy focused on B-cell malignancies.

After a quiet few years, JWCAR029 moved into the clinical phase in 2018 and is now in midstage testing. The new cash haul will be put toward its testing as well as further building out a pipeline and “gear[ing] up to establish commercialization capabilities to support product launch,” the company said in a statement

The biotech is led and co-founded by James Li, M.D., the founding general manager for Amgen in China, with Ge Li, M.D., as its other co-founder and chair, where he splits his time from his chairman position at WuXi AppTec.

James Li commented: “We are very pleased to welcome our new investors and, by working together, we hope to accelerate our product development and serve Chinese Patients.”