China’s Wuxi Healthcare Ventures leads $55m Series A in US-based LifeMine Therapeutics

Chinese investment firm Wuxi Healthcare Ventures has led a $55-million series A financing for US-based biotech company LifeMine Therapeutics after earlier investing in its $5 million seed round.

Other investors participating in the financing include Foresite Capital, Google’s venture arm GV, Arch Ventures, Boyu Capital, Blue Pool Capital, MRL Ventures Fund and Alexandria Venture Investments.

LifeMine aims to combine genomics with artificial intelligence and synthetic biology to unearth new drugs from eukaryotic microbes. Its first focus is fungi.

“Despite their promise, these fundamentally innovative medicines proved difficult and time-consuming to discover by traditional means, leaving the industry in search of a technological solution,” said Gregory Verdine, co-founder, president and CEO of the company.

LifeMine was co-founded in 2016 by Verdine, WeiQing Zhou and Hingge Hsu, who are venture partner, entrepreneur-in-residence and advisor at Wuxi Healthcare Ventures.

Verdine is also Erving Professor at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School and has founded multiple NASDAQ-listed biotech companies including Variagenics, Enanta, Eleven Bio, Tokai, Wave Life Sciences, and Aileron, and a private company, Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Celgene in 2010.

In conjunction with the series A investment, partners at WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Foresite Capital, GV and Boyu Capital; as well as Rick Klausner, founder and director of Juno Therapeutics, GRAIL, and Mindstrong, will join the company’s board of directors. Klausner will chair the board.

“LifeMine has figured out how to tap into the power of evolution and accelerate the creation of new drugs that meet the greatest medical challenges of our day and those that have frustrated industry-wide attempts at solution,” said Edward Hu, founding partner of WuXi Healthcare Ventures.

In May this year, Wuxi and Frontline BioVentures teamed up to create 6 Dimensions Capital as a Sino-American investment group specialising in healthcare and life sciences.

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