There's No Place Like Massachusetts for China's Largest Biotech Vcanbio

There's No Place Like Massachusetts for China's Largest Biotech Vcanbio September 13, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Vcanbio Cell & Engineering Corporation, which is dubbed China’s largest biotech company, has opened a U.S. facility for two of its subsidiaries.

The two subsidiaries are Vcanbio USA and the Vcanbio Center for Translational Biotechnology (Vcanbio CTB). The first is the company’s investment arm for cell and immunotherapies. Vcanbio CTB is “a service entity that identifies promising new therapies at various stages of clinical translation.”

“Expanding operations into the United States is a momentous occasion for Vcanbio, the largest Chinese biotechnology company and the first company to offer cord blood storage in China,” said Yong Wang, chairman of Vcanbio USA and Vcanbio CTS, in a statement. “We are eager to begin building relationships and contributing to the robust biotech community in Massachusetts and the larger United States.”

The new site has 15,504 square feet of office and laboratory space and is located at 21 Strathmore Road in Natick, Massachusetts. It was formerly the location of Parcell Laboratories. Vcanbio will start with 20 employees, but expects to grow.

Vcanbio CTB will be run by John Lu as president and chief executive officer. Until April 2016, Lu was the senior director of research for Ocata Therapeutics, based in Marlborough, Mass.

Opening ceremonies were held on June 10. The company focuses on cell therapy and precision medicine. Mark Sullivan, the executive director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment, as reported by Xinhuanet, that the company will find support from the state’s high-caliber workforce, world-class universities, its pro-business state government, and companies with similar goals and cultures.

“Boston area is the most innovative center of biotech in the world,” Wu Mingyuan, Vcanbio’s chief executive officer, said at the opening ceremony. “A number of well-known research institutes, universities, hospitals and biotech companies are located around this area. By establishing the two subsidiaries here, it will enable us to access the state-of-the-art technology and information.”

In addition to these two subsidiaries, Vcanbio also owns Union Stem Cell & Gene Engineering, Alliancells Bioscience, Zhongyuan Union Gene Technology, Zhongyuan Pharma Co., and Shanghai Zhicheng Biological Technology Company.

In a related note, Vcanbio’s subsidiary, Vcanbio Cell & Gene Engineering Corporation, invested $15 million (US) in an artificial intelligence-enabled health care data mining startup that was founded earlier this year by Wang Jun, former chief executive officer of Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI), which focused on genome sequencing. The new company is iCarbonX.

The investment was part of a $760 million series A investment round.

“We want to establish a health-related big data platform, to develop artificial intelligence to interpret and mine the data as well as to enable every individual to better manage their health and defeat diseases,” Jun said in a statement when he opened the company.

iCarbonX’s co-founders include Chun Wu, formerly of Boston Consulting Group, and Yingrui Li, former chief scientist of BGI.

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