Gene-editing CRO Biocytogen raises 410 Million RMB in C-Finance round led by CMB International Capital
On April 10th, Beijing Biocytogen Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Biocytogen") announced that it had completed the Round C financing totaling RMB 410 million. This financing round was led by CMB International Capital and followed by SDIC Venture Capital (Round B leading investor), 3E Bioventures, Cowin Capital and Oriza Seed. Biocytogen will dedicate the funds raised on this round toward market development, technology and product development, construction of new base facilities as well as expanding its talent pool.
Biocytogen is a comprehensive Biomedical CRO company established in 2008. The company’s core service platform uses gene-editing technologies to build customized animal models. Other key services include scaled propagation and supply of disease-specific animal models, in vivo pharmacology and drug efficacy evaluation as well as antibody drug R&D outsourcing.
Biocytogen has become a top provider for gene-edited animal models worldwide as well as a leading supplier of immunodeficient mice and immune-checkpoint humanized mice in China. Biocytogen also provides customers with in vivo pharmacology and efficacy evaluation services for tumor immunotherapy drugs using their independently developed tumor immune-checkpoint humanized models and severe immunodeficient mouse (B-NDG) models reconstituted with the human immune system. This unique, in-house in vivo efficacy evaluation approach greatly optimizes and speeds up antibody discovery, making Biocytogen an attractive provider for pharmaceutical companies that need to outsource fast and efficient antibody drug validation and screening.
As of late 2017, Biocytogen has provided model animal supplies, pharmacology and efficacy assessment and antibody development outsourcing services to nearly 100 pharmaceutical R&D companies at home and abroad including Amgen, Sanofi, Lilly, Merck, Roche. Biocytogen has also provided genetic editing and customized services to nearly 500 research institutes, universities and pharmaceutical companies in China as well as to more than 150 scientific research institutions and universities at abroad.
The modern biopharmaceutical industry needs standardized animal models and reliable disease-specific animal models as R&D tools. Animal models of human disease are essential for in vivo drug testing and are closely linked to various stages in the pharmaceutical R&D industrial chain and are the key to translational medicine. Globally, the animal model industry is dominated by 3-4 industry giants. The lack of alternative service providers limits innovative drug development initiatives worldwide.
“Biocytogen began with customized production of gene-edited animal models at the core of its service offering” says Dr. Dr. Yuelei Shen, Founder and Chairman of Biocytogen. “Later, it expanded toward preparation, scale propagation and supply of animal models of human disease. Building on this foundation, Biocytogen entered the field of pharmacological efficacy evaluation services and antibody drug R&D outsourcing services. In recent years, the vigorous development of gene-editing technology and the rapid rise of tumor immunotherapy strategies have brought a rare opportunity for Biocytogen’s growth. Biocytogen quickly entered the early R&D service area for antibody drugs through our independently developed animal models. We hope to become a world-class CRO company offering comprehensive biomedical R&D services in the future and be able to contribute to human health.”
Speaking of the current round of financing, Dr. Yuelei Shen expressed: “It’s a great honor for us that the Round C investment has been highlighted by a great number of investors, especially that we are joining hands with CMB International Capital, 3E Bioventures, Cowin Capital and Oriza Seed. In 2008, I founded Biocytogen in the United States. In the past ten years, the Company has developed from a start-up company to a comprehensive multinational CRO company with nearly 600 employees. In addition to all the employees of the company who are working hard and collaboratively, we also would like to express our gratitude to A-round investor BVCF and leading B-round investor SDIC Venture Capital. Looking ahead, I believe that the completion of the C-round financing will help Biocytogen reach new heights.”
Biocytogen in the Eyes of Investors
Kexiang Zhou, Managing Director of CMB International Capital, and leading investor of Round C financing, emphasized: “In the next five years, global drug R&D spending will continue to increase, and the pharmaceutical CRO industry will be the direct beneficiary. Chinese pharmaceutical CRO companies will take part in this global R&D push and will continue to maintain rapid growth in the future. The vigorous development of Chinese original drug R&D companies will also promote the rapid rise of China's pharmaceutical CRO industry. As a comprehensive biomedical CRO company in China, Biocytogen has a solid foundation and we are very pleased to support the further development of Biocytogen.”
Dr. Qianye Liu, Founding Partner of 3E Bioventures, a following investor of this round, expanded these observations. “Strategies focusing on tumor immune-checkpoints are currently the main research path of international cancer immunotherapy efforts. The immune-checkpoint monoclonal antibody drug market is expected to reach nearly USD 13 billion in sales by 2020, with a compound growth rate of 27% in five years. Biocytogen has global advantages in the areas of humanized animal supply and pharmacological efficacy evaluation of immune-checkpoints targets and has a promising future.”
Yanbin Xi, Investment Director of Cowin Capital, also a C-round following investor agrees: “Compared with its counterparts, Biocytogen has stepped out of a different development path. This is the right path and it goes along with the development of China's biomedical industry. We are willing to join in and work for common goals.”
Qun Zhao, Partner of Oriza Seed, a following investor in this round, expresses: “We are very optimistic about the huge platform value of Biocytogen and are willing to support its rapid development. Through multi-form strategic cooperation, we will jointly promote the development of domestic antibody drug R&D.”
Beijing Biocytogen Co., Ltd. is a biotech company established in Beijing in 2009 by Dr. Yuelei Shen following the successful establishment and operation of Biocytogen in the United States in 2008. Dr. Yuelei Shen is an expert under the Global Expert Recruitment Program with over 20 years animal model R&D experience.
The company takes full advantage of China and U.S. resources to launch a leading international gene knock-out/knock-in animal development platform. The Company operates 10,000-m2 animal facilities in Beijing and in Haimen, Jiangsu Province, and will expand its animal centers to an area of more than 50,000 square meters in two years. The Company will become a first-rate model animal supplier in China through these efforts. Biocytogen relies on independently developed immune-checkpoint humanized mice and immunodeficient animals reconstituted with the human immune system. Moreover, it has established pharmacology and efficacy evaluation platforms for tumor immune-checkpoint drugs in Boston, Beijing, and Haimen, Jiangsu, providing R&D services to pharmaceutical companies domestically and abroad. Using this foundation it optimizes and enhances the traditional antibody discovery process, providing efficient, rapid, and high success rate antibody validation and screening outsourcing services.
About CMB International Capital
As the wholly-owned subsidiary of China Merchants Bank, CMB International Capital shoulders the heavy responsibility to lever the huge emerging financial market at home in the form of dual linkage with domestic and overseas investment banks and commercial banks. CMB International Capital implements all-around business layout in private equity investment, investment fund management, mezzanine fund management, cross-border capital operation and other new-type financial service fields. It is dedicated to building a high-quality, comprehensive investment platform and an alternative asset management platform subordinate to China Merchants Bank through development, transformation and innovation. Since its establishment, CMB International Capital has grasped the industry development direction accurately, taken advantage of opportunities to start operations and played the leading role on multiple famous investment cases in the industry. It is the leading private equity investment institution in China.
About 3E Bioventures
3E Bioventures is an investment fund specializing in the medical health industry. With successful investment and entrepreneurial experience in the bio-medicine field for many years, the team at 3E Bioventures possesses rich investment experience and has accumulated resource in multiple fields including new drug research and development, medical devices, clinical diagnosis, medical services, etc.
About Cowin Capital
Cowin Capital is among the first batch of professional private equity investment companies in China and has 17 years of asset management experience with an asset management scale ranked at the top within the industry. The Company has long focused on venture capital investment and is a domestic brand professional investment agency with a leading position, long operating time and excellent returns in China.
About Oriza Seed
Oriza Seed is a member of Suzhou Oriza Holdings Co., Ltd., and is an early market-oriented equity investment platform in China. It focuses on investment opportunities for start-up and growth-stage startups in healthcare and TMT and has rich experience and excellent brand influence in the medical and health field.
Beijing Biocytogen Co., Ltd.
Biocytogen Jiangsu Gene Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
Biocytogen Co., Ltd. Shanghai Office