China Digest: MediLink raises $54m, Lunar acquires stake in HK’s IVF business

Source: Visuals from The Women's Clinic Group Limited website

Chinese biotech startup MediLink Therapeutics has raised 350 million yuan ($54.2 million) in a Series A round, while Chinese buyout firm Lunar Capital has agreed to purchase a 64.85% stake in a women’s health and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) business in Hong Kong.

Biotech startup MediLink closes $54m Series A round

MediLink Therapeutics, a Chinese biotech startup that develops innovative drugs, announced on Monday the completion of a Series A round at 350 million yuan ($54.2 million).

The Series A round consists of two tranches of transactions, including a Series A1 round led by China’s Apricot Capital, which invests in early- and growth-stage startups in the healthcare industry. Its Series A2 part was co-led by Qiming Venture Partners and Shanghai-based equity investment firm Loyal Valley Innovation Capital, with participation from Apricot.

MediLink was founded in 2020 to develop antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which are a class of biopharmaceutical drugs designed as a targeted therapy for treating cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, ADCs are intended to target and kill tumour cells while spreading healthy cells.

The new financing will be used for the development of MediLink’s new-generation ADC product pipeline and the establishment of its ADC-focused R&D platform.

The startup is headquartered in central China’s Changsha City and led by its co-founders Xue Tongtong, former executive at China’s publicly traded drug maker Kelun-Biotech; CSO Cai Jiaqiang, an industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience; and COO Xiao Liang, who previously held senior positions at Kelun-Biotech and biotech firm KLUS Pharma.

MediLink is one of the latest startups tapping into opportunities emerged in the world’s fastest-growing ADCs market. Due to the rise in prevalence of cancer and growing economies like China and India, the size of the ADCs market in Asia Pacific is valued at $1.52 billion in 2020, according to consultancy Market Data Forecast.

The regional market size is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 28.6% to reach $5.34 billion by 2025.

Lunar acquires 64.9% stake in HK-based IVF business

Lunar Capital, a middle-market buyout firm with offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, has entered into an agreement to purchase a 64.85% stake in a women’s health and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) business for HK$268 million ($34.5 million).

Lunar will acquire the stake from Mason Group, a Hong Kong-listed conglomerate offering health and wealth solutions. Mason will cease to have any interest in the target firm post the transaction, it disclosed in a stock exchange filing on February 26.

The target company owns about 46.71% of equity interest in Hong Kong-based TWCGL, fully known as The Women’s Clinic Group Limited.

TWCGL was created through a merger between Mason’s Reproductive Healthcare and The Women’s Clinic in 2018, when the joint group claimed to command a 30% share in the IVF market in Hong Kong.

The firm is principally engaged in the provision of obstetrics and gynaecology clinical services, medical check and consultation, operation for collection and embryo test for IVF, and operation of laboratory for blood tests, hormone tests and sperm washing, among others. It currently operates three clinics, three IVF laboratories, and a biochemical laboratory in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Mason’s decision to dispose its stake in TWCGL comes as the financial performance of the IVF business has been “adversely impacted” by a virus-induced economic downturn, said Mason in the filing.

“Given the continued adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the prospect of the target company is uncertain,” said the firm. “The disposal allows the recoup of funds through asset restructuring to optimize its capital allocation, thereby strengthening the Group’s overall ability to control risks.”

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.