Chinese genome editing startup EdiGene Inc has secured 400 million yuan ($61.7 million) in a Series B+ round of financing led by private equity (PE) firm Loyal Valley Capital to advance its pipeline into clinics and to scale up the business operation.
The Series B+ round roped in new investors BioTrack Capital and Sherpa Healthcare Partners, two China-focused, healthcare venture capital (VC) companies. The firm’s existing investors including IDG Capital, Lilly Asia Venture, 3H Health Investment, Huagai Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Alwin Capital, and Kunlun Capital re-upped in the deal.
Founded in 2015, EdiGene is a clinical-stage biotech company that focuses on leveraging genome editing technologies to accelerate drug discovery and to develop novel therapeutics for a broad range of genetic diseases and cancer. The startup has established its proprietary ex vivo genome-editing platforms for hematopoietic stem cells and T cells; in vivo therapeutic platform based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) base editing, and high-throughput genome-editing screening to discover novel targeted therapies.
With its headquarters in Beijing, it also operates from offices in Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, as well as Massachusetts in the United States.
“Gene-editing, as one of the most exciting technologies in life science, has showcased huge potential in treating or curing various diseases in recent years and may fundamentally transform the current ways of disease treatment in the future,” said Andy Lin, founding partner of Loyal Valley Capital, in a statement.
The new financing came as the genome editing development in Asia Pacific is speeding up to catch up with that in North America – by far the biggest genome editing market closely followed by Europe.
Globally, the genome editing market size is projected to more than double to $11.2 billion in 2025 – from just $5.1 billion in 2020 – driven by government funding and growth in the number of genomics projects, according to industry research firm MarketsandMarkets.
In January 2021, the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) of China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), the country’s medical products regulator, approved EdiGene’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for ET-01, an investigational CRISPR/Cas 9 gene-editing therapy for patients with transfusion dependent β-thalassemia.
In the statement, EdiGene said that it marked the first gene-editing therapy and the first hematopoietic stem cell therapy IND application approval in China. The startup was preparing to initiate ET-01’s Phase I clinical trial.
Furthermore, it plans to advance other assets including allogeneic CAR-T therapy, in vivo therapies based on RNA base editing technology LEAPER™, as well as novel targeted therapies discovered through high-throughput genome-editing screening, said the firm.
Wei Dong, CEO of EdiGene, said: “The company is speeding up portfolio advancement and scaling up business footprints… The round enables us to continue our efforts in translating gene-editing technologies into therapeutics and further grow the company in terms of scale, global competitiveness and business development.”
Six months ago, the startup announced the completion of a 450-million-yuan Series B round led by 3H Health Investment. Prior to that, it closed a combined 251.5 million yuan across three funding rounds in 2018 and 2019, shows its website.