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Week in Review: Insilico Closes $255 Million Round for AI Drug Discovery/Development
Deals and Financings
Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong company devoted to using AI to speed up drug discovery and R&D, closed a $255 million Series C round led by Warburg Pincus (see story). Insilico has said its platforms identified a completely novel target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and designed a novel molecule in 18 months for only $2 million. The company is developing its own products and has also formed discovery/development partnerships with well-known pharmas. Several of these programs have reached major milestones, Insilico said.
Triastek of Nanjing completed a $50 million Series B financing to advance its 3D printed pharmaceutical technology (see story). The company has the first drug candidate from its portfolio in clinical trials and is developing the new manufacturing technology for general use. Triastek says Melt Extrusion Deposition (MED®) 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that precisely deposits each layer of melted excipients, APIs and their mixture materials. It produces a drug delivery system with well-designed geometric structures. The round was co-led by Matrix Partners China and CPE.
Hangzhou MindRank AI completed a $7 million angel found from Sherpa Medical Fund to develop its AI-based drug development technology (see story). In 2018, MindRank was formed in
Trials and Approvals
Fosun Kite Biotech, a Shanghai JV set up to develop Kite's CAR-T therapy in China, reported Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) was approved to treat relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma (see story). Yescarta is the first CAR-T therapy allowed to launch in
BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160), a
HutchMed (NSDQ/AIM: HMP) and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZM) report their MET tyrosine kinase inhibitor was granted conditional
Shanghai Asieris Pharma dosed the first European patient in a global Phase III trial of its photodynamic drug-device combination product for cervical lesions (see story). Cevira® is being developed as a novel non-surgical treatment for cervical high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. The drug-containing device contains a photosensitizer that activates the active ingredients via a specific wavelength of light. Asieris, which develops novel treatments for genitourinary tumors, in-licensed global rights to Cevira® from Photocure (OSE: PHO) of
Hangzhou Lynk Pharma has been OK'd to start clinical trials of a novel Class I drug in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (see story). LNK01003 is a kinase inhibitor that offers low systemic exposure and high intestinal exposure, lowering potential toxicity caused by immune system suppression. Lynk did not give any details about the candidate's mechanism. LNK01003 is the third Lynk candidate approved for clinical trials. Founded in 2018, Lynk discovers and develops innovative drugs to treat cancer, as well as immune and inflammatory diseases.
Nanjing Bioheng Biotech reported its universal CAR-T cell therapy was granted US Orphan Drug Designation to treat T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (see story). Bioheng's pipelines include the allogeneic CAR-T, which is used for hematologic and solid tumors. The company says a universal product solves the drawbacks of high cost and a long wait to develop an individual CAR T therapy. Earlier this year, Bioheng raised $80 million in Series B Financing co-led by GL Ventures, the venture capital unit of Hillhouse Capital, Decheng Capital and Octagon Capital.