Kinnate buys OrbiMed and Foresite's stakes in cancer venture, paying $24M to go solo in China

Kinnate Biopharma is going it alone in China. Twenty-one months after setting up a Chinese joint venture with OrbiMed and Foresite Capital Management, the U.S. biotech has bought its partners out for less than it raised in the series A.

In May 2021, Kinnate, spying an opportunity for its lead RAF program, set up Kinnjiu Biopharma with its VC partners and secured $35 million in series A funding. Kinnate exited the deal owning 55% of the joint venture, a figure that had risen to 58% by the end of September 2022. Now, Kinnate has bought all the issued and outstanding series A preferred shares from funds affiliated with OrbiMed and Foresite.

The West Coast biotech is paying $24 million in a mix of cash and its common stock to acquire the Kinnjiu shares. Kinnate will retain Kinnjiu’s cash, intellectual property and other assets, including key personnel and the legal entity structure. 

“We believe retaining the Kinnjiu structure will enable Kinnate to continue to invest in innovation and clinical development of its kinase inhibitors in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. We are pleased with the progress to date across our programs,” Kinnate CEO Nima Farzan said in a statement. 

Farzan highlighted the initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial of lead RAF candidate exarafenib in China and Taiwan, plus the start of a phase 1 study of pan-FGFR inhibitor KIN-3248 in Taiwan, as evidence of the progress Kinnate and Kinnjiu have made in the region.

The transaction leaves Kinnate’s cash runway unchanged, with the biotech still forecasting that its existing financial reserves will fund operations into the middle of next year. Kinnate pulled off a $276 million IPO late in 2020.