Chinese cell therapy player generates $300m in IPO

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Meletios Verras
© GettyImages/Meletios Verras

Related tags: Cell therapy, CAR-T, B-cell lymphoma, solid tumor

China based CAR-T biotech, JW Therapeutics, has raised $300m in its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Those funds add to the $190m in venture capital JW has secured over three funding rounds. The company is funded by 13 investors, with CPE and Mirae Asset Global Investments its most recent backers.

Co-founded in 2016 by Juno Therapeutics and Wuxi AppTec, JW’s vision is to develop cell therapies for the Chinese market to transform the treatment of cancer for patients.

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Immunotherapy (CAR-T) treatments rely on an innovative method that uses human immune cells to fight against cancer. There are none that have been approved in China to date.

Having built what it calls a comprehensive and differentiated cell therapy pipeline covering both hematological cancers and solid tumors, JW expects its lead product, Relma-cel, an anti-CD19 CAR-T therapy for relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma, to be the first CAR-T therapy to be approved as a Category 1 biologics product in China.

Priority review status 

The product is currently being evaluated by Chinese regulators, with the country’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) granting it priority review status in September 2020.

Given the unmet medical needs that can be effectively addressed by CAR-T therapies, according to Frost & Sullivan, the market for CAR-T therapies in China is expected to grow from RMB0.6 billion in 2021 to RMB24.3 billion in 2030. Indeed, in an outlook piece​ on BioPharma-Reporter, it was believed China had the potential to take the lead in cell therapies.  

“We believe that we are well positioned to take advantage of this rapidly growing market,”​ said JW in a report​.

JW acquired Syracuse Biopharma in July this year, and, in doing so, gained access to the Artemis technology platform from Eureka Therapeutics, an antibody TCR and solid tumor technology for exclusive use in China and the ASEAN countries.

Through a deal with Lyell Immunopharma, it says it is also planning to combine Lyell's technology with the Artemis technology platform to create a next-generation autologous cell therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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