Temasek and Jack Ma-Backed Fund Invest in Genomics BusinessBy
A fund backed by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte made new investments in contract genomics organization WuXi NextCODE, which is expanding in China as the country pushes into the emerging field of precision medicine.
Yunfeng Capital and Temasek co-led a $75 million Series B round of financing into the company, WuXi NextCODE said in a statement. Other investors included Amgen Ventures, a fund founded by Amgen Inc., and private-equity firm 3W Partners.
WuXi NextCODE has offices in Shanghai, Reykjavik, Iceland, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In China it offers consumers genetic tests that are intended to uncover details such as the rare condition a child might be suffering from or the risk of passing on an inherited disease.
China has made precision medicine, a new area of medical research that includes everything from genetic prenatal tests to customizing therapies for patients, a focus of its 13th five-year plan. Chinese companies have embarked on ambitious efforts to collect a vast trove of health data, researching how to identify cancer markers in blood and launching consumer technologies that aim to use potentially life-saving information.
In 2015, NextCODE was acquired by WuXi AppTec, China’s biggest contract medical researcher, and merged with the latter’s Shanghai-based genome center. WuXi NextCODE’s existing investors include Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners and Polaris Partners.