Suzhou-based biomedical company Gracell Biotechnologies has raised $85 million in a Series B funding round led by Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek, per an announcement on Monday.
Other participating investors include Lilly Asia Ventures, Kington Capital, King Star Capital and Chengdu Miaoji.
Established in 2017, Gracell focuses on resolving the cellular gene therapy industry’s major challenges such as high production costs, lengthy manufacturing process, lack of off-the-shelf products, and short duration of therapeutic effects.
The company, which has additional locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong, was initially supported by Series A financing from 6 Dimensions shortly after its establishment.
This new funding will enable Gracell to enter clinical trials with several of its next-generation immune cell gene therapy drug candidates.
“Immune cell gene therapy is expected to become a pillar of modern medicine, but the industry is still in its infancy. Challenges and opportunities coexist,” said Gracell founder, chairman and CEO Dr. William Cao. “The company’s goal is to develop high-quality, low-cost, easy-to-use cellular gene therapy drugs that bring hope to cancer patients.”
The funding for Gracell comes amid strong investment interest in China’s biotech space from both local and foreign investors. Earlier this month, Singapore’s GIC led an 850-million yuan ($125.5-million) Series C funding round for Chinese biotech firm Burning Rock, with participation from LYFE Capital, CMB International Capital, Sequoia Capital China, T&Brothers Capital and Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV).
China-based biomedical venture capital firm Lily Asia Ventures has been one of the most active investors in the local biotech space. Before its investment in Gracell and Burning Rock, the firm had led a $15-million pre Series B round for Beijing-based biotech company EdiGene Inc.