China’s Jacobio Pharmaceuticals has raised $55 million in series C funding to advance an oncology asset into the clinic, conduct preclinical work and ramp up its R&D pipelines.
Founded in 2015, Beijing-based Jacobio is working on drugs for cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. It counts 13 preclinical assets, the most advanced of which, a cancer drug known as JAB-3000, will be moved forward with the new funding. Aside from describing its pipeline as having “competitive advantages and excellent drug properties,” Jacobio has not disclosed specific indications or mechanisms of action.
Qiming Capital and Hillhouse Capital led the round, which saw a new investor join in: Hong Kong’s Prudence Investment Management, China Money Network reported. Lilly Asia Ventures backed the company in a previous round.
Qiming recently chipped into a $13 million round for Chinese devicemaker Wuxi Vision Pro, which will expand its intraocular lens business. And Hillhouse got in on I-Mab Biopharma’s $220 million series C, which will bankroll the Chinese biotech’s two-pronged pipeline. One arm comprises therapies for the domestic Chinese market, while the other focuses on medicines for the U.S. and international markets.
I-Mab's huge round is part of a trend that has industry watchers warning of a Chinese biotech bubble. In June, Jonathan Wang of OrbiMed Asia suggested there is “a big bubble forming right now [and] a few companies have raised financings or are planning IPOs at overly high valuations, compared to their counterparts in other markets, such as the U.S.”
And this week saw Hangzhou, China-based Ascletis—the first Hong Kong-listed biotech—slump 44% after four weeks of trade. People involved in its IPO said the dip was due to its relatively high pricing. Investors and bankers, Wang included, noted that this could signal more measured valuations for biotechs seeking to list in Hong Kong, which relaxed the rules for its stock exchange this year.
“It’s actually good news to have everyone cooled down after monthslong hype and excitement around the industry,” Wang told Reuters at the time.