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Tianjin CanSino Biotech Raises $10 Million from Lilly Asia Ventures
Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology has received a $10 million strategic investment from Lilly Asia Ventures, a venture capital arm of Lilly (NYSE: LLY). CanSino specializes in the R&D and manufacture of human vaccines. CanSino will use the capital for R&D, clinical research and early stage commercialization of core combined DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccines and several other innovative vaccines. CanSino seeks to develop and market leading-edge, high quality vaccines for China and other emerging markets at an affordable cost.
Darren Carroll, Eli Lilly’s global vice president, plus Dr. Yi Shi, Lilly Asia Ventures’ Managing Director, along with his team came to Tianjin to attend the signing ceremony at CanSino’s home in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone.
“We are very excited to have invested in CanSino, a company managed by a highly experienced scientific and management team and dedicated to develop high-quality vaccine products," said Mr. Carroll of Lilly. "With CanSino, we now have more than a dozen investments in China from our Lilly Asia Ventures Fund. These investments contributed significantly to the development of innovative products and business models in the Chinese healthcare system, and demonstrated Lilly’s commitment to the Chinese market,“ he added.
Dr. Xuefeng Yu, Chairman and CEO of CanSino, said, “Lilly’s investment represents more than funding support because it also brings CanSino a wealth of market experience and industry resources, which will accelerate the development of the company. CanSino has, since its establishment, sought to promote technical innovation and improve the quality of vaccine products. The investment is a major milestone in the history of CanSino.”
As part of the signing, Lilly’s delegation made a field visit to see the buildup of the biomedical industry in Binhai New District. They also had a panel discussion about further cooperation with Zong Guo Ying, the deputy mayor of Tianjin.
In May 2012, CanSino and Maryland-based Aeras agreed to collaborate on the development of CanSino’s tuberculosis vaccine candidate Ad5Ag85A (see story). The agreement called for Aeras to provide CanSino with financial and technical support for the proof-of-concept non-human primate study in China, which involved a novel delivery mechanism. CanSino is responsible for managing all necessary work toward the initiation of clinical trials in China. Also, CanSino will conduct research that enables subsequent availability of the vaccine in developing countries that are granted licenses of the TB vaccine.
Founded in Tianjin in 2009, CanSino is engaged in research, development, and commercialization of vaccines. The company’s entrepreneurial management team members are oversea returnees from world-famous vaccine companies. CanSino seeks to in-license advanced technologies to promote technical innovation and improve the quality of its vaccine products. At the same time, CanSino expects to be a leader in developing novel vaccines. CanSino has an R&D center and test base in Tianjin Binhai New District. Some of its novel vaccines are approaching clinical development.