China’s Harbour BioMed rakes in $102.7m to speed up COVID-19 pipeline

People walk on the street in Macau wearing face masks to protect them to be infected with coronavirus. Source: Macau Photo Agency/Unsplash

Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical firm Harbour BioMed (HBM) on Thursday announced the completion of a Series C round of financing at $102.7 million led by Hudson Bay Capital, an asset management firm in New York and London.

The Series C round comes less than four months after HBM completed a Series B+ round at $75 million in mid-March, underlining the company’s ambition in speeding up the development of its portfolio for the treatment of next-generation biologics targeting cancer, immunologic diseases, and the COVID-19.

The new transaction was joined by New York-based healthcare investment specialist OrbiMed and Octagon Capital, a multi-stage investment manager specialized in public and private healthcare companies, according to a statement.

Country Garden Venture Capital (CGVC), an equity investment affiliate of Chinese property developer Country Garden Group, Chinese healthcare-focused equity investment firm GTJA Investment Group, Hong Kong-based investment manager Sage Partners, and existing investor Greater Bay Area Investment Fund, also poured money into the new round.

“We have made great progress with our clinical programs and multiple promising, bi- and monospecific antibodies from our discovery engine that are rapidly moving towards clinical trials,” said Wang Jingsong, founder, chairman and CEO of HBM, in the statement.

“The funding will support the final development and initial commercialization of our late-stage portfolio and advancement of both our earlier stage discovery and preclinical molecules,” said Wang.

HBM, with operations across China, the United States, and the Netherlands, currently has five products in clinical development. HBM has over 30 programmes in its pipeline.

Along with the Netherlands’s Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center, HBM recently announced a research collaboration with US biopharma firm AbbVie for a monoclonal antibody termed 47D11 for therapeutic/prophylactic use against the deadly COVID-19virus.

In August 2018, HBM closed $85 million in a Series B round led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. The previous round saw participation from China Life Private Equity Investment Company and Vertex Ventures China, AdvanTech Capital, and Legend Capital.

Deal-making spike in biotech, healthcare 

The Series C round comes as China’s biotech and healthcare companies are rising to become one of the most eye-catching sectors by collecting almost $1.17 billion from venture capital and private equity investors in May 2020, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

While the healthcare and related industries have long been an investment hot spot in China due to the country’s ageing population and growing middle-class who could boost spending, the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the trend with Beijing channelling even more funds into the field.

An array of domestic healthcare and biotech firms have completed a new funding round in the past two months. Some of the more prominent deals include a $50-million investment into Stemirna Therapeutics, a startup that develops mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates, Nanjing-based biotech firm Vazyme Biotech‘s $78-million Series C round, as well as the over-$1-billion Series B round into MGI Tech, an affiliate of Chinese genome sequencing giant BGI Group.

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.

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.