Chinese biotech firm Genecast secures $149m in Series E round

Laboratory equipment. Photo: Pixabay

Genecast Biotechnology, a Chinese biotech firm that specialises in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and bioinformatics, has secured over 1 billion yuan ($149 million) in a Series E round of financing, the firm announced on Monday.

The Series E round was led by China Structural Reform Fund, which is anchored by Chinese state-owned assets operator China Chengtong. Other investors included Taikang Asset Management, which manages assets for Beijing-based insurer Taikang Life Insurance; CCB Private Equity; Hillhouse Capital’s venture capital unit GL Ventures; and Hong Kong-listed investment bank China Renaissance.

Existing shareholders such as CICC Capital, an investment platform of China International Capital Corporation (CICC), and Matrix Partners China re-upped in the financing round.

Genecast was founded in November 2014 to focus on the development of technologies including liquid biopsy, bioinformatics, and NGS, a DNA technology that enables the sequencing of an entire human genome within a single day. Through precision cancer diagnostics and companion diagnostics, the firm targets to improve the treatment of multiple solid tumors, lung cancers, colorectal cancers, liver cancers, and oesophagal cancers, among others.

Based in eastern China’s Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, Genecast has regional sales and services branches across 28 provinces in China. It has also forged partnerships with nearly 500 Chinese top-tier hospitals and over 20 pharmaceutical enterprises in China and worldwide.

Proceeds from the Series E round will be used to strengthen Genecast’s R&D and to introduce precision diagnostics products for tumours, to accelerate the registration and application of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs), and to promote the expansion of the firm’s marketing channels.

“China’s precision oncology diagnostics market is at a critical stage of rapid development. The drastically-evolving industry and technologies indicate ever-increasing barriers on the technology, channel, and capital sides,” said Genecast co-founder and CEO Du Bo in a statement.

Du said that the firm will further increase its core competitiveness and improve the business layout to better serve the Chinese market after the transaction.

Upon the completion of the Series E round, Genecast has by far completed at least six investment rounds. The firm had raised 300 million yuan ($45 million) in a Series D1 round of financing led by CICC Capital in October 2019.

In February 2018, it had closed 210 million yuan ($31 million) in a Series C round led by Matrix Partners China and Chinese private equity firm Loyal Valley Capital.

Its 128-million-yuan ($19 million) Series B round was completed in February 2017, according to previous company statements.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.