Challenges And Opportunities CAR-T Cell Therapy Faces
2018-01-02

Gracell Biotechnologies Completes $85 Million Series B for Immune Cell Gene Therapies

SHANGHAI and SUZHOU, China, Feb. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Gracell Biotechnologies, Co., Ltd. (“Gracell”) announced the completion of its $85 million series B funding today. The financing was led by Temasek with Lilly Asia Ventures, Kington Capital, King Star Capital and Chengdu Miaoji also participated in the round. This new funding will enable Gracell to enter clinical trials with several of its next generation immune cell gene therapy candidates.

Founded by Dr. Wei (William) Cao in 2017, Gracell is an innovative biomedical company focusing on the development of next generation immune cell gene therapies. Dr. Cao was previously co-founder and CEO of a Nasdaq-listed cell therapy company. Gracell was initially supported by series A financing from 6 Dimensions shortly after its establishment.

Gracell says it is committed to developing high-quality, low-cost cellular gene therapies and solving many of the technical difficulties in the cellular gene therapy field, including complex manufacture, lack of off-the-shelf products, and short duration efficacy. To implement its vision, Gracell believes it has gathered one of the top teams in the industry from China and the U.S.

To date, Gracell has completed pre-clinical development of a series of low-cost CAR-T products and entered clinical research through Institutional Review Board (IRB) studies. Other products under development include CAR-T cell products developed on the company’s FasT(TM) CAR technology, Dual-CAR technology, Off-the-shelf CAR-T products, and CAR-T products for the treatment of refractory solid tumors.

“Immune cell gene therapy is expected to become a pillar of modern medicine, but the industry is still in its infancy. Challenges and opportunities coexist,” said Dr. William Cao, founder, Chairman and CEO of Gracell. “Gracell has a leading technology platform and a mission-driven team that is committed to solving industry-wide cellular gene therapy technical difficulties. The company’s goal is to develop high-quality, low-cost, easy-to-use cellular gene therapies that bring hope to cancer patients in need.”

Over the past year, the Gracell team has advanced a series of innovative CAR-T products toward clinical research, obtaining valuable data and gaining support from international investors. Gracell expects to develop a data package from its clinical IRB studies and advance several products to IND filings and clinical trials in the near future.

About Gracell

Established in 2017, Gracell Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. (“Gracell”) is headquartered in Suzhou, China, with additional locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Gracell is dedicated to resolving the cellular gene therapy industry’s major challenges including high production costs, lengthy manufacturing process, lack of off-the-shelf products, and short duration of therapeutic effects. Gracell’s mission is to bring best-in-class and affordable cellular medicines to cancer patients.

About Temasek

Incorporated in 1974, Temasek is a global investment company headquartered in Singapore. Supported by a network of international offices, Temasek owns a S$308 billion (US$235b) portfolio as at 31 March 2018, with significant exposure to Singapore and the rest of Asia.

Temasek’s investment activities are guided by four investment themes and the long term trends they represent: Transforming Economies; Growing Middle Income Populations; Deepening Comparative Advantages; and Emerging Champions.

For more information on Temasek, please visit www.temasek.com.sg

About Lilly Asia Ventures

Lilly Asia Ventures (“LAV”) is a leading biomedical venture capital firm, with offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Palo Alto, California. Its vision is to become the trusted partner for exceptional entrepreneurs seeking smart capital and to build great companies developing breakthrough products that treat diseases and improve human health.

About Kington Capital

Kington Capital is supported by the Suzhou municipal government. Founded in 2016, it is the first municipal private investment platform engaged in direct investment and fund management focusing on four industries: capital- and technology-intensive manufacturing, brand driven consumption, high-end medical health, and next generation information technology.

About King Star Capital

King Star Capital is a U.S. dollar fund managed by Kington Capital. The first phase of the fund focuses on innovative biopharmaceutical companies in China. It has invested in leading anti-tumor biopharmaceutical R&D enterprises including CStone Pharmaceuticals, MabSpace Biosciences, JW Therapeutics and Adagene Pharmaceutical.

About Chengdu Miaoji

Chengdu Miaoji Medical Technology Co., Ltd., was founded in 2015 and is based in Chengdu, China. The company has a highly efficient investment team and has participated in the investment management of multiple leading global biomedical technology companies. With its unique insight into the healthcare industry, Chengdu Miaoji is committed to investing in and supporting firms across multiple healthcare sectors.

About 6 Dimensions Capital

6 Dimensions Capital is a leading global healthcare investment firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The firm focuses on the investments of healthcare startups or growth stage companies with operations in the U.S., Europe, China, Israel and other countries. We help and enable entrepreneurs to create and grow innovative healthcare businesses for the benefits of patients worldwide.