Singapore-based ASLAN gets $34M in Series C cash for ASLAN001 led by Temasek subsidiary


Singapore-based ASLAN Pharmaceuticals has gained $34 million in Series C financing led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund subsidiary Accuron, placing the biotech in a stronger position to develop leading Phase II candidate ASLAN001.

The candidate to treat cholangiocarcinoma, gastric cancer, and breast cancer won a U.S. FDA orphan designation earlier this year, enabling the firm developing immunotherapies and targeted agents for Asia-prevalent tumor types to rope in South Korea's Hyundai Pharmaceutical in its first co-development agreement in November.

ASLAN has been busy on other fronts as late, including clinical trial approval nods in Singapore and Taiwan in September for the Phase II work on ASLAN001 (varlitinib).

ASLAN CEO Carl Firth

"We are delighted to receive such a strong level of support and confidence from our new and existing investors, including several notable strategic investors," Carl Firth, CEO of ASLAN, said in a press release.

"It is a strong endorsement of the quality of our clinical programs and team. This round will allow us to complete a further 10 clinical studies and potentially pivotal studies for ASLAN001."

The firm has been reported to eye a listing either in Asia or the U.S. on the Nasdaq, with no time frame set, with backing by Accuron joined by new investors Tianda Pharmaceuticals and Haitong International.

"Existing investors Morningside, Bioveda, Cenova and Sagamore Bioventures also participated in the round," the company said in the release.

Last year, ASLAN secured $22 million in Series B financing led by Shanghai-based Cenova Ventures, which joined Morningside Group and XinChen Ventures with BioVeda Capital and Sagamore Bioventures, to fund ongoing clinical development of ASLAN's portfolio.

Earlier this year, ASLAN signed an understanding with the National Cancer Centre of Singapore to study novel combination therapies to treat gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.

In March, ASLAN said positive Phase I results with gastric cancer candidate ASLAN002, licensed from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) (BMS-777607), will lead to Phase II trials in Asia-Pacific with the small-molecule dual inhibitor of the cMET receptor tyrosine kinase and RON immune checkpoint.

The company also has ASLAN003, a DHODH inhibitor licensed from Almirall, currently in Phase I trials for rheumatoid arthritis, and ASLAN004, a fully human monoclonal antibody against interleukin-13 receptor α1 licensed from CSL (CSL334) that has been shown to block binding and signal transduction of both IL4 and IL13 and. It is in preclinical development.