BGI-backed Chinese precision medicine startup Gene+ closes $28m Series B round

Next-generation sequencers operate at BGI's five-storey facility in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Photographer: Natasha Khan/Bloomberg

Gene+ Technology, an oncology gene testing and precision medicine startup in China, announced on Monday that it has closed nearly 200 million yuan ($28 million) in a Series B round of financing led by Shenzhen-based private equity firm Co-Stone Asset Management.

A group of Chinese investors including genome sequencing major BGI Group, venture capital firm Volcanics Venture, Green Pine Capital Partners, Shenzhen-listed IT service management firm UEC Group, and Chengdu-based investment company Desun Asset poured money into the new round.

The investment into the startup comes when the global next-generation sequencing (NGS) market is currently dominated by North America and Europe. Asia is expected to experience high growth due to rising investment in India and China on research and development of NGS in the field of oncology and transmissible diseases, according to a report from PMR Research.

NGS, also known as “high-throughput sequencing,” is the catch-all term used to describe a number of different modern sequencing technologies that allow for sequencing of DNA and RNA much quickly and cost-effectively than the previously-used Sanger sequencing. Such technology helps identify the genetic changes in a patient’s tumour to determine their treatment, which is called “precision medicine.”

“China’s oncology gene testing industry is stepping into a new phase after vigorous development and accumulation in the early stage,” said Huang Yiling, executive director of Co-Stone Asset Management. “Clinical standardization, autonomous and controllable adoption of core platforms, cost reduction, and efficient usage of medical resources will become new driving forces to move the industry forward.”

Gene+ Technology, founded in April 2015 and based in Beijing, enables the prevention and early detection of tumours, as well as providing data for the implementation of precision medicine. Based on the domestic NGS platform and oncology big data, the company is also involved in the production of medical devices.

With over 400 employees, the company has built medical examination labs, gene research institutes and medical device production bases in Beijing, Shenzhen, and eastern China’s Suzhou city. The startup has accumulated nearly 120,000 oncology case reports through cooperation with more than 400 large-scale hospitals, pharma companies and scientific research institutions, according to the statement.

Proceeds will be used to finance the clinical application and commercialization of its offerings on the domestic NGS platform. The company will also increase investments in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of tumours.

Gene+ Technology raised 50 million yuan ($7 million) in a strategic investment from BGI Group in January 2019. The company also completed a Series A round worth 200 million yuan ($28 million) led by BGI Group with participation from Volcanics Venture and Green Pine Capital Partners in August 2016.

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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.