Third Venture Biopharma, a company focusing on the discovery and development of the innovative biologics, and Tasgen Biotech, a clinical stage biologics development company focusing on half-life extension bio-betters, reached a definitive merger agreement to create a leading innovative biologics platform in China. The new combined company is called I-Mab Biopharma and is led by Dr. Jingwu Zang as Chairman and CEO. Concurrently, I-Mab Biopharma announced signing of Series B fundraising of US$150m led by C-Bridge Capital ("CBC") and Shanghai Tasly Pharmaceutical ("Tasly"), to fund its R&D and extensive pipeline development.
Third Venture Biopharma was founded in 2015 by a founders'team led by Dr. Jingwu Zang. TigerMed (300347) and BioSciKin were early investors in the company. It specializes in discovery and early stage clinical development of global innovative biologics in immune-oncology and autoimmune diseases. The team has more than 10 years' R&D experiences in both multinational and domestic pharmaceutical companies, and extensive expertise in innovative drug development. Third Venture Biopharma closed Series A financing led by I-Bridge Capital in October 2016. Tasgen, founded in 2015, is a three-way joint venture among I-Bridge, Shanghai Tasly Pharmaceutical, Genexine Inc (KQ.095700) and CBC, to collaboratively develop bio-betters for China and global markets. Tasgen's pipeline covers diabetes, oncology and autoimmune diseases.
Post merger, I-Mab Biopharma has 12 biologics assets in development. The merger has created significant synergies between Third Venture Biopharma and Tasgen in respect of R&D capabilities and pipeline competitiveness. The $150m series B investment led by CBC and Tasly is a further validation of the strategy and synergies and leadership of the combined company and pipeline. Core competency of Third Venture Biopharma team is for discovery, in vitro and in vivo validation as well as early stage clinical development, while Tasgen team's core competency centres around biologics process development, pre-clinical evaluation, manufacturing QA and QC.
Proceeds of this round of financing will be used for launching and developing clinical stage assets, advancing process development, preclinical toxicity study and IND filing in China and US for innovative antibodies, in licensing global innovative drugs and developing in China, team expansion and establishing independent integrated facility for operations and R&D.
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