(Bloomberg) -- Chinese biotechnology firm Avistone Pharmaceuticals has raised over $200 million in a series A round led by Vivo Capital in one of the largest such deals for the sector.
Private equity firms Bain Capital and Primavera Capital also participated in the fundraising, Beijing-based Avistone said in a statement.
The investment will support the combination of Avistone with Pearl Biotechnology Co. to create an integrated oncology platform. It will also fund the development of Avistone’s existing drug candidates and the expansion of its pipeline.
Avistone has been developing precision oncology therapeutics with a focus on lung cancer treatments, the statement showed. It has a pipeline of therapies for molecular drivers of cancer, including two clinical-stage drug candidates and several in the pre-clinical development stage.
“We were impressed by their commitment in developing cancer drugs,” said Hongbo Lu, managing partner and chief investment officer of Greater China for Vivo Capital, in an interview. Avistone and Chairman Hepeng Shi have been consistently executing for nearly a decade, Lu added.
China’s biotech industry has experienced breakneck growth over the past few years, as investors bet on growing demand for health-care services from an aging population. Hong Kong has become a busy listing hub for the sector, with health-care firms raising a record $8.6 billion through initial public offerings this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
With about $5.8 billion in assets under management, Vivo Capital is a health-care focused firm with investments in sectors including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and life science tools, according to its website. The Palo Alto, California-based firm’s portfolio includes Bolt Biotherapeutics Inc., Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Zai Lab Ltd., the website shows.
Lu said that while Avistone could seek an initial public offering in a short period of time, Vivo is focused on the long term for its growth strategy. A public offering is one of Avistone’s many options for the next two to three years, Lu said.
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