Qiming raises $1B fund, continuing big burst of VC activity

Qiming's founding managing partners Gary Rieschel and Duane Kuang (Qiming Venture Partners)

Qiming Venture Partners has raised a $1.1 billion venture fund. Building on its track record of backing biotechs such as CanSino and Zai Lab, Qiming pulled in its largest fund to date against a backdrop of COVID-19-fueled disruption. 

China’s Qiming has a broader investment focus than many VCs active in biotech, backing technology players such as Xiaomi as well as healthcare startups. Despite only focusing some of its money and attention on biotech, Qiming has picked up stakes in promising drug developers inside and outside of China, listing Schrödinger alongside CanSino and Zai Lab in its portfolio. 

Qiming backed those biotechs with its earlier, smaller funds, the two most recent of which raised $935 million and $648 million. The effort to top the size of the sixth fund faced headwinds.

In disclosing the seventh fund, Qiming highlighted “challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical uncertainties and historical over-allocation to the venture capital asset class by many LPs” as issues that made it harder to close the fund on time and on target. Qiming said it hit both its target amount and the fundraising timetable. 

Having done so, Qiming joins a crop of VCs with fresh funding to bankroll biotechs designed to thrive in the post-pandemic world. Over the past week Arch‌ ‌Venture‌ ‌Partners‌, Deerfield Management, Flagship Pioneering and venBio have disclosed close to $4 billion in new funds. Qiming raise’s moves the total up toward $5 billion, although not all of its money will go into biotech.

There are reasons to think the money Qiming does commit to biotech will go to startups that make a mark on the industry. CanSino, one of Qiming’s current crop of biotechs, is tucked in just behind Moderna in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, while Zai Labs made headlines this week by picking up the Chinese rights to Regeneron’s anticancer bispecific REGN1979.

Qiming has largely invested in its home market but has ventured overseas on occasion, for example to invest in Schrödinger. The computer-enabled drug discovery shop went on to go pubic through a $232 million IPO.