China is funding the future of American biotech

Oct. 25, 2018

Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by “Eastern” medicine.

It’s been a record year for U.S. medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for U.S. life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the U.S. than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 U.S.-based companies, per Pitchbook. That’s the story at Viela Bio, a Maryland-based company exploring treatments for inflammation and autoimmune diseases, which raised a $250 million Series A led by three Chinese firms.

Chinese capital’s newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the strongest year of venture investment ever, with over one hundred companies receiving $4 billion in investment.

As Chinese investors continue to shift their strategies towards life science and biotech, China is emphatically positioning itself to be a leader in medical investing with a growing influence on the world’s future major health institutions.

There’s no shortage of areas in need of transformation within Chinese medical care, and a wide range of strategies are being employed by China’s VCs. While some investors hope to address influenza, others are focused on innovative treatments for hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

For instance, according to the Chinese Journal of Cancer, in 2015, 36% of world’s lung cancer diagnoses came from China, yet the country’s cancer survival rate was 17% below the global average. Sequoia has set its sights on tackling China’s high rate of cancer and its low survival rate, with roughly 70% of its deals in the past two years focusing on cancer detection and treatment.

TechCrunch has the full article

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