Biotech is to Delaware’s future as chemical engineering was to its past. When we talk about tech startups in the First State, we’re likely talking about a medical device or therapeutic rather than a web application.
The latest local biotech biz to make a big growth move, following Prelude Therapeutics’ $50 million Series C in summer 2020? NiKang Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing innovative cancer treatments, raised $200 million in a Series C announced at the end of May.
Based at the Delaware Innovation Space and cofounded by President and CEO Zhenhai Gao, Ph.D., in 2017, NiKang was incubated by the Chinese venture capital and private equity firm CBC Group. In 2020, the startup also raised $50 million in a Series B round.
The small molecule oncology medicines it develops target patients with unmet medical needs.
The round was led by Cormorant Asset Management, HBM Healthcare Investments and Octagon Capital Advisors with participation from a syndicate of funds, including new investors EcoR1 Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Wellington Management, Ally Bridge Group and Pavilion Capital. All existing investors including CBC Group, RTW Investments, LP, Lilly Asia Ventures, Matrix Partners China and Casdin Capital participated in the financing.
In connection with the financing, Bing Yao, Ph.D., former CEO and chairman of the recently acquired Maryland company Viela Bio, and Ting Jia, Ph.D., founder, and chief investment officer of Octagon Capital Advisors, will join NiKang’s board of directors.
“We are thrilled to have such an outstanding group of investors as our shareholders,” Gao said in a statement. “Their support of our vision allows us to build the world’s leading precision oncology company. We are now well positioned to rapidly advance our pipeline into clinic including our differentiated HIF-2 alpha inhibitor, and to bring our company to the next level of growth.”
NiKang currently has job openings for a senior clinical data manager and research investigators.