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US-China Based Ascletis, Inc. Raises $100 Million from Private Chinese Investors for Specialty Therapeutics Venture


4/6/2011 6:58:06 AM

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. & HANGZHOU, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ascletis, Inc., a U.S.-China specialty life sciences venture focused on cancer and infectious disease therapeutics, today announced the company’s formation and completion of a Series A private equity financing. Ascletis has raised US$100 million in committed financing including a first tranche of US$50 million. The investors, led by Hangzhou Binjiang Investment Holding Co., Ltd., included private entrepreneurs from China and other countries including the United States.

Ascletis will conduct operations in Hangzhou, China and the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, thus combining U.S. innovation and strategic drug development experience with China’s cost-efficiencies and highly skilled scientific work force. The company has a two-pronged business strategy that aims to accelerate revenues by building in the near-term a sustainable business addressed to the rapidly growing China pharmaceuticals marketplace, while creating long-term value by discovering, developing, and partnering innovative therapeutics for life-threatening diseases on a global basis.

Ascletis is led by co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jinzi J. Wu, Ph.D., who was previously Vice President, Global HIV Drug Discovery at GlaxoSmithKline based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Dr. Wu has an 18 year track record of successful drug research and development at both major pharmaceutical companies and emerging biotechnology firms in the United States and Canada, including Ambrilia Biopharma, Immunex/Amgen, Novartis and Aventis.

“We are very pleased to complete this significant investment that provides a strong financial base and committed long-term support from a group of experienced private investors,” said Dr. Wu. “We believe that the formation and funding of Ascletis represents the first large-scale investment by Chinese entrepreneurs in U.S. pharmaceutical/biotech innovation.”

“Ascletis has assembled an experienced U.S.-based management team with proven ability in the discovery and development of high value therapeutics for global medical needs, who can effectively leverage China’s highly trained workforce and cost-efficiencies for the company’s discovery and development efforts,” said Jinxing Qi, MBA, lead investor and Ascletis’ co-founder at Hangzhou Binjiang Investment Holding Co., Ltd. “These management and economic strengths, combined with a business strategy that addresses both near-term prospects for success within the rapidly growing Chinese pharmaceutical marketplace and longer-term ones for building value as a globally focused drug development company, make Ascletis an outstanding investment opportunity.”

Dr. Wu said the financing would be used in part to further build the Ascletis management team and to in-license clinical-stage compounds for development and commercialization specifically for the Chinese market. The company will also seek early stage leads that Ascletis will develop through clinical proof-of-concept before partnering on a global basis.

About Ascletis, Inc.

Ascletis is a joint venture between U.S. and Chinese entrepreneurs aimed at building a global specialty therapeutics business dedicated to discovering and developing important new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases. Ascletis leverages U.S./European innovation and pharmaceutical/biotech strategic experience and China’s capital efficiency with a goal of establishing in the near term a sustainable business and accelerated revenues through the in-licensing, late-stage clinical development, and commercialization of new medicines for the growing Chinese pharmaceutical marketplace. At the same time, the company is building long-term value through the discovery, demonstration of clinical proof-of-concept, and global partnering of novel therapeutics for life-threatening diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.ascletis.com.

Contact:

Ascletis, Inc Jinzi J. Wu, Ph.D., +1 919-328-0212 (US) President and CEO jinzi.wu@ascletis.com China: +86 133 3614 7339 or For Media: Kureczka/Martin Associates Joan Kureczka, +1 415-821-2413 Joan@kureczka-martin.com Mob: +1 415-690-0210

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