SHANGHAI, Sept. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Neukio Biotherapeutics, a company committed to developing novel cell therapy products, announces it has closed $50 million in a Series A-1 funding round. The investment round was led by CD Capital, with the participation of Alwin Capital and Surplus Capital as new investors. Existing shareholders Lilly Asia Ventures, Sherpa Healthcare Partners and IDG Capital have continued to support the company with additional funding. G&G Capital served as the exclusive financial adviser. The funds raised will play important roles in accelerating the preclinical and clinical validation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapy products, and supporting team recruitment and expansion.
Neukio, founded at the Simbay Park in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (China) in June 2021, is an innovative biotherapeutic company focusing on the development and commercialization of next generation immune cell therapy. Leveraging its significant experience in the R&D, CMC and commercialization of autologous CAR-T cell therapy, Neukio’s management team has established an iPSC-CAR-NK-based pipeline development strategy, aiming to launch allogenic off-the-shelf cell therapy products that can be produced in scale for treating solid tumors. The company focuses on both in-house R&D innovation and global collaboration with leading partners, to provide valuable clinical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. Since its establishment just over one year ago, the company has made remarkable progress in talent recruitment, facility construction, R&D pipeline advancement and quality management system establishment, exceeding all expectations.
Dr. Richard Liqun Wang, founder, chairman and CEO of Neukio and former founding CEO of Fosun Kite Biotechnology Co., Ltd., has successfully brought China’s first CAR-T cell therapy product Yescarca (Axicabtagene Ciloleucel) to the market in less than four years, laid foundation for the cell therapy industry in China. To address the challenges in manufacturing, clinical application, and patient access of autologous cell therapy, Dr. Wang and the Neukio team are aiming high to create novel cell therapies for the benefit of cancer patients by exploiting the clonality and unlimited replication capability of iPSCs in conjunction with cutting-edge gene editing technologies.
Dr. Wang commented: “In as little as 10 months since the operation of our new laboratories, not only have we completed several signaling pathway modifications and CAR designs tailored for solid tumors, but also we have made significant progress in the development of innovative manufacturing processes of NK differentiation and expansion. In today’s challenging environment of capital market, we are honored to have received recognition from CD Capital, Alwin Capita, Surplus Capital, and previous investors of Sherpa Healthcare Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures and IDG Capital on our R&D strategy, development capabilities and project progress. I am very grateful to all investors and to G&G Capital and Silkroad Law Firm for their support in this round of financing, and we will reward them with rapidly moving forward in the preclinical and clinical validation of our R&D platform and products. The field of cell therapy is rapidly advancing with a promising future and a huge market potential, and iPSC-CAR-NK therapy has the potential to become one of the brightest stars of next generation cell therapy.”
“The transition from traditional small molecules and antibodies to the era of cell therapy is a great leap in drug design and manufacturing capabilities of human being,” said CD Capital, the leading investor in this round of financing. “With the commercialization of autologous CAR-T cell products, more and more improvement opportunities have emerged and need to be taken urgently. In the field of cell therapy, CD Capital continues to focus on innovations and breakthroughs in allogenic products to conquer solid tumors. Neukio has been deeply committed to iPSC-CAR-NK cell therapy. Within a short time of its establishment, Neukio has built up global leading technology platforms efficiently in both scientific innovation and process development, demonstrating its strong execution capability and efficiency. We hope that the company, under the leadership of Dr. Wang, will adhere to pragmatism, efficiency, and innovation, leading the advancement of the industry, and bringing a new generation of allogenic cell therapy products to the clinical application as soon as possible for the benefit of patients.”
About CD Capital
CD Capital is an investment organization focusing on innovative medical technologies and cutting-edge biotechnologies. Run by a professional team with senior medical industry background, it is managing multiple USD and RMB funds. By adhering to the investment philosophy of “focus, excellence, and reputation” and by leveraging its abundant industrial resources and years of in-deep research and cultivation in the medical field, CD Capital is able to get first-hand insight into the latest international scientific and technological trends and seize the investment opportunities brought by technological innovation. CD Capital is committed to identifying top enterprises with leadership potential in the industry, builds an industrial ecosystem and grows together with entrepreneurs through the interconnected and win-win investment methodology and a precise and pragmatic post-investment empowerment system, and creates sustainable and excellent returns for investors.
About Alwin Capital
Focusing on the frontier areas of life sciences, Alwin Capital conducts in-deep research, unifies knowledge and practice, walks in non-consensus areas, and invests objectively and truthfully in real opportunities for medical transformation. With a core team formed by the veterans in both industry and capital market, Alwin Capital believes in the power of research, is committed to long-term investment, steadily builds the enterprise ecology, and strives to obtain systematic excess returns for investors.
About Surplus Capital
Surplus Capital is committed to discovering and supporting medical enterprises that promote the health of all humankind. It focuses on subdivision areas such as innovative drugs and innovative medical devices, and adopts diversified investment strategies to pay attention to all stages of enterprise development, including start-up, growth and maturity. Surplus Capital also cultivates seed-stage project sources, and invests and assists in the incubation of high-quality seed-stage projects to help enterprises create value.
About Lilly Asia Ventures
Founded in 2008, Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV) is a leading venture fund firm focusing on investment in the life sciences and healthcare sectors with offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Silicon Valley. LAV is committed to being a trusted partner for exceptional entrepreneurs seeking smart capital, and looks forward to working with top entrepreneurs to build great companies developing breakthrough products that treat diseases and improve human health.
About Sherpa Healthcare Partners
Sherpa Healthcare Partners (Sherpa) is a professional fund firm focusing on early-stage medical and health investment. It adheres to the investment concept of building industry ecology, builds portfolios for rigid unmet medical needs on the basis of in-depth understanding of the treatment of critical diseases, and plans the layout along the industry depth and upstream and downstream. By actively sharing operational experience and forward-looking perspectives of the whole industrial chain with the invested enterprises, the team from Sherpa actively promotes internal and external synergy, helping enterprises achieve rapid growth in both business performance and value and take a leading position in their market segments. It has invested in leading enterprises in such subdivisions as medical services, medicine, genetic technology and medical devices, forming a full range of resource advantages in project sources, post-investment value-added services, exits, etc. From 2011 to 2022, after 4 fund years and more than 100 medical projects, Sherpa has grown up hand in hand with many outstanding entrepreneurs.
About IDG Capital
IDG Capital pioneered the venture capital business in China in 1993. For years, IDG Capital consistently pursues long-term value investment and maintains long-term close relationships with diverse investment partners from around the world. IDG capital has accumulated extensive investment experience in venture capital, private equity and industrial development. It has the following areas of focus, including consumer goods, chain services, Internet and wireless applications, new media, education, health care, new energy, advanced manufacturing, etc. The investment covers companies at all stages of development: start-up, growth, maturity and pre-IPO, with a size of investment ranging from millions to tens of millions of U.S. dollars.
For more information and updates on Neukio Therapeutics, please visit the company’s website at www.neukio.com.