Chime Bio, flush with $190M, blueprints major biomanufacturing boost in China

After locking up a $125 million series A in early 2020, China-based CDMO Chime Biologics has raised another $65 million to help build and kit out a second plant in Wuhan, China. 

The $190 million investment will fuel an expansion over the next five years at its site in Wuhan, taking capacity there to 140,000 liters.

The new plant will join Chime's first facility there, which is built around a modular manufacturing system from Cytiva Life Sciences. Chime counts monoclonal and bispecific antibodies, fusion and conjugated proteins, and enzymes among its manufacturing repertoire, according to the company’s website.

The CDMO last April penned a contract with Wuhan East Lake High-tech Zone—where Chime's operations are located—to pump $900 million into the site. Once the upgrade is complete, the site will boast "a great many" 2,000-liter single-use bioreactors and 10,000-liter stainless steel bioreactors, the company said in a release.

At the time, the company forecasted China's Marketing Authorization Holder (MAH) system—which allows companies to apply for China FDA approvals even if they lack in-house manufacturing facilities—would pave the way for more CDMO work in China. 

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Chime's Monday announcement didn’t go into details about the second phase of construction at the site, and the company didn’t immediately respond to Fierce Pharma’s request for comment.

The company says its work runs the gamut from early-stage development through commercial production. Since 2016, the manufacturer has been able to support pre-clinical and clinical projects at scales of 50 liters, 200 liters, 500 liters and 2,000 liters.

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As of March 26, more than $100 million of the investments in Chime had closed. Financial consultant VMS Group led the latest series A-plus, with Fidelity International and Panacea Venture chipping in as well.

Meanwhile, Chime is far from the only China-based CDMO looking to beef up biologics capacity at home. WuXi Biologics in January sealed a deal to buy more than 90% of CMAB, a Suzhou, China-based CDMO, in a move set to boost liquid and lyophilization capacity by 7,000 liters. The deal will also see more than 250 CMAB staffers join WuXi Bio's team, the company said earlier this year.