HKIC leads investment in Jiyuan Capital-backed biocomputing firm BioMap

HKIC leads investment in Jiyuan Capital-backed biocomputing firm BioMap

L to R: Clara Chan, CEO of HKIC; Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government; Wei Liu, CEO of BioMap

The Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC), an investment firm wholly owned by the city-state’s government, has invested in the Beijing-based bio-computing startup BioMap, to supercharge the city’s life sciences development via strategic direct investments.

The proceeds will support BioMap in establishing its bio-computing innovation centre and expanding its operations to Hong Kong. HKIC, however, did not disclose the valuation and financial terms of the deal.

The Hong Kong government is ramping up efforts to make the city an international life sciences hub. This includes the introduction of Chapter 18A in 2018, which enables pre-revenue and pre-profit biotech firms to list on HKEX, and the slew of financial support to encourage biotech firms to establish their presence in the city.

“Leading the current financing round means that the HKIC is setting the parameters and terms of this round for other investors to follow. The HKIC’s leading role and participation have successfully attracted overseas capital and institutions to express their interest to invest,” said Clara Chan, CEO of HKIC in the partnership agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday.

Alongside the investment, BioMap said it will launch an accelerator programme called BioMap InnoHub to help incubate over 50 early-stage life science R&D projects in Hong Kong over the next five years. It also sees Hong Kong as a priority venue for an initial public offering (IPO) in the future.

“We intend to leverage Hong Kong’s international status, favourable financial policies, globally aligned IP and data regulations to garner trust from multinational clients, and maintain our competitive edge amid international competition. In addition, Hong Kong has a rich pool of interdisciplinary AI and biotechnology talent, and an innovative academic environment” said Wei Liu, co-founder and CEO of BioMap.

Founded in 2020, BioMap engages in the development of Large Biology Language Models. Its technology, which sits at the intersection of biology and computer science (biocomputing) is expected to lower the cost and increase the speed of developing new biotech products in the long term, per Chan.

With offices in Beijing, Suzhou, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley in the US, the firm helps companies in the field to design novel proteins via its AI-Generated Protein (AIGP) Platform. 

Previously, the firm secured $100 million in a Series A round in July 2021 led by Jiyuan Capital (previously known as GGV Capital). Jiyuan Capital manages GGV’s yuan-denominated funds independently. The Series A round roped in several Chinese Internet companies and blue-chip investors including the likes of Baidu, Legend Holdings’ Legend Capital, and Bluerun Ventures. 

Biomap is the second company that HKIC has partnered with since the fund was established in October 2022. The first partnership was with the city’s home-grown AI unicorn SmartMore, earlier this month

Edited by: Pramod Mathew

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