China's EpimAb Biotherapeutics Raises $74 Million in Series B to Advance Solid Tumor Therapy

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Shanghai, China-based EpimAb Biotherapeutics closed on a $74 million Series B financing round. This brings the company’s total financing to more than $100 million. The round was co-led by SDIC Fund and Sherpa Healthcare Partners. SCVC, additional private investors and the Series A investors participated. Series A investors included Oriza Seed Capital, Decheng Capital, 3E Bioventures Capital and the Trend Investment Group.

The company’s technology platform is called FIT-Ig, which stands for Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin. It is used to create bispecific molecules that have antibody-like properties.

EpimAb plans to use the funds to advance its Phase I/II clinical program, EMB01, expand its clinical pipeline into immuno-oncology and other areas and add a new manufacturing site in Suzhou for process development and pilot manufacturing. The CMC manufacturing site will allow them to have process development and early manufacturing performed internally instead of depending on contract research organizations.

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In January 2019, the company announced it had completed recruitment of the first dose cohort in its Phase I/II clinical trial for EMB01. The company is evaluating the compound for solid tumors in about 60 patients in the U.S. and China. The investigational new drug (IND) applications were submitted simultaneously in the U.S. and China at the end of August 2018.

EMB01 is a bispecific antibody developed using FIT-Ig. The compound targets two receptors at the same time, EGFR and cMET. Both are broadly expressed on cancer cells. The company believes that this bispecific activity would allow the compound to treat a much wider patient population than current EGFR or cMet therapies do.

“Our development team is excited to see rapid progress with our lead program EMB01,” stated Bin Peng, chief medical officer of EpimAb, at the time. “The short turn-around times and swift approval from the regulatory authorities in two of the most important pharmaceutical markets underscore the quality of our data set and our trial applications.”

He added, “EMB01 represents a potential first-in-class approach in solid tumors with a novel mode-of-action unattainable with other drug classes such as monoclonal antibodies.”

As part of the Part B financing, Dongfang Li from SDIC Fund and Cheng Xing from Sherpa will join the company’s board of directors.

The company’s chief executive officer and founder is Chengbin Wu. Stephen Lensky is chief operating officer and chief business officer, formerly with Boehringer Ingelheim. Bin Peng was previously global chief of oncology translational medicine at NIBR’s Shanghai group.

“The completion of our Series B financing will allow the company to accelerate transforming into a mid-size company, rapidly growing and advancing a pipeline based on our own discovery efforts,” stated Chengbin Wu. “We are very proud to have grown from the foundation on internal innovation to where we are today within less than four years and we greatly appreciate the support we’ve received from our existing and new investors, as well as their beliefs in our technologies that have demonstrated advantages in developing breakthrough biologics therapies.”

The company has announced several partnerships, including with Kymab, Innovent Biologics, and Zhejiang Teruisi Biopharmaceutical.

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