Chinese biotech firm Gracell nets $100m from Wellington, OrbiMed, others

Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

Chinese clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm Gracell Biotechnologies Inc. has completed a $100 million Series C round co-led by the US investment company Wellington Management, New York-based OrbiMed Healthcare Fund Management, and VC firm 5Y Capital (formerly Morningside Venture Capital), the investee company said on Wednesday.

Vivo Capital, a new investor in Gracell, participated in the round, along with existing investors such as Singapore’s Temasek, Shanghai-based Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), and US Kington Capital’s King Star Capital. 

The $100 million round comes nearly two years after Gracell pocketed a $85 million Series B financing from Temasek, LAV, King Star Capital, Kington Capital, and others in February 2019.

The latest proceeds will be used to support Gracell’s research and development, besides clinical-stage pipeline candidates.

With headquarters in Shanghai and GMP (good manufacturing practices) in Suzhou, Gracell targets to deliver safe and affordable immunotherapy to solve CAR-T industry hurdles. Since its inception in 2017, Gracell has been leveraging two proprietary platforms, FasTCAR and TruUCAR, to develop a pipeline of autologous and allogeneic cell therapy candidates. Its research primarily caters to hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

Its flagship TruUCAR allogeneic product candidate, GC027, is under phase 1 trial in China for the treatment of relapsed or refractory T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, it said. “Our passion is to bring transformative CAR-T cell therapies to a broader group of patients by developing products that are efficacious and can be made widely available,” said Dr. William Wei Cao, founder, chairman and CEO of Gracell.

Gracell had closed two rounds of funding in 2017, with an undisclosed angel round from Tonghe Capital and Shanghai Zhaoheng Investment Fund in August, followed by a 70 million yuan ($10 million) Series A round financing from 6 Dimensions Capital. 

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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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.