Pharma Veteran Rounds Up $200 Million for His Own Biotech

George Chen_D3

George Chen, pictured above. Photo courtesy of D3 Bio.

With 28 years in the pharma big leagues under his belt, George Chen, M.D., launched his own Shanghai-based biotech focused on patients with unmet needs in oncology and immunology. 

D3 Bio roped in a $200 million series A round financed by investors including Sequoia Capital, Temasek and WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund. 

“Our mission at D3 Bio is to build a global biotechnology company that develops innovative and more efficacious medicines for patients worldwide,” said Chen, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of D3 Bio. 

At this point the company’s website only lists Chen on the team, but with this funding he’ll be able to build out his team to get started. Chen himself brings plenty to the table with a rich history in the drug business. Twenty-eight years ago, he started as a senior staff scientist with the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. From there he spent six years at Eli Lilly, four years at GSK, a year and a half at J&J, two years at BeiGene and this year came off a 7-year career with AstraZeneca. Chen was AZ’s SVP of Global Oncology R&D and Head of R&D for China. His resume alone would instill hope in the future success for D3. 

D3’s approach is unique in that rather than only following the lab results, it will survey the clinical landscape to identify areas where the standard-of-care just isn’t cutting it for patients. Chen plans to harness delivery methods that will match patients with optimal therapies to treat their disease. No one size fits all plan here. 

“Our R&D programs in oncology and immunology are designed to address current unmet clinical needs and to provide the structure, or ‘backbone,' upon which future drugs can be developed. D3 Bio intends to create a robust portfolio comprised of internal core assets that can be leveraged for follow-on development as well as in-licensed early-stage clinical assets,” Chen said. “We expect our entire portfolio to enable discovery and development of additional indications and combination regimens." 

D3’s approach is what gives its name – Development leading to Discovery that leads back to more Development. D3 Bio. 

The company has the advantage of being based in the second largest global pharmaceutical market and intends to leverage those resources into accelerated development of life-transforming therapies. 

“Our strong and agile team of scientific innovators and business executives are experienced in discovery, development and commercialization of important, world-class pharmaceuticals that have achieved blockbuster status on a global basis. We anticipate D3 Bio’s development program in China will be closely followed by ones in other major global markets.” 

With Chen at the helm, D3 hopes to convert life-threatening cancers into manageable chronic conditions and meet the needs of cancer patients across the globe. 

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