China's CStone Pharma raises $150M to fund early stage I/O work


CStone Pharmaceuticals has raised $150 million in Series A funds to hunt for early stage candidates across therapeutic areas with immuno-oncology serving as a core focus. The privately-held firm incorporated in Hong Kong late last year roped in leading China-focused investors and a top Asia R&D hand.

Oriza Seed Venture Capital, Boyu Capital and WuXi Healthcare Ventures joined in the round for RMB975 million, according to a release that added a former Sanofi ($SNY) R&D executive, Frank Jiang, will hold the post of CEO.

Jiang's most recent post for the past decade was as head of Asia-Pacific R&D for Sanofi with responsibility for clinical trials ranging from Phase I to IV resulting in "several dozen product registrations," according to a release.

The company said that in addition to its immuno-oncology focus, CStone has an unspecified pipeline in cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, hematology and autoimmune diseases.

"With immuno-oncology as CStone's core therapeutic focus, the company strives to lead Chinese research to the global market through its world class R&D team, its innovative portfolio, and an open innovation strategy," the company said.

"The funds raised will be used to help accelerate multiple programs of the company into the clinical stage while at the same time seeking out new innovations from around the world for patients in China, and ultimately worldwide."

The funding round follows an announcement last month that China's Hengrui Therapeutics has raised $100 million from HR Bio Holdings--a joint venture between China healthcare firm Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (JHM--its parent company) and an undisclosed blue chip investment firm, with few details provided other than to note the company's pipeline includes a “number of clinical-stage oncology and immuno-oncology assets.”

- here's the release

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