* One of the largest such fundraisings in genomics
* Proceeds to be used to help build genomics data platform
* Investors include Temasek, Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital (Adds quotes, context and company background)
By Julie Zhu
HONG KONG, Sept 7 (Reuters) - A Temasek-backed genomics firm has raised $240 million in its latest funding round from a consortium led by Sequoia Capital China, it said on Thursday, one of the largest such fundraisings in a hot area of scientific research.
WuXi NextCODE, the genomics arm of WuXi AppTec, China’s largest contract medical researcher, said other participants in so-called series B fundraising included existing investors Singapore state investor Temasek, Jack Ma-backed private equity firm Yunfeng Capital and Chinese investment firm 3W Partners.
The roster of high profile names highlights the rising appeal of genomics in China amid a global drive into higher-tech medicines, where understanding and mapping DNA-related data can help develop targeted medicines and treatments.
Proceeds from the fundraising will be mainly used to help build WuXi NextCODE’s genomics data platform, bring in new users and data, as well as commercialising its products for China.
In China, WuXi NextCODE offers customers DNA sequence-based tests and scans that help uncover health problems including rare disease variants and hereditary abnormality, which is generally difficult to diagnose with common clinical methods.
“In leading WuXi NextCODE’s latest financing round, Sequoia China is able to support the company to build out a standard platform to efficiently turn sequence data into benefits for people worldwide. This is truly where healthcare and technology meet,” Neil Shen, founding and managing partner of Sequoia China, said in a statement.
Reuters reported in May that WuXi NextCODE was raising fresh capital with a target of about $200 million, drawing interest from investors including Sequoia China.
The company in early May also said Temasek and Yunfeng Capital had co-led a $75 million financing round into the company, as the initial part of the Series B round.
Founded by Icelandic biopharma firm deCODE genetics in 2013, NextCODE was acquired by WuXi AppTec two years later and merged with WuXi AppTec’s Shanghai-based genome centre. It now runs offices in Shanghai, Iceland and the United States.
China Renaissance was the sole financial adviser to WuXi NextCODE for the financing round. (Reporting by Julie Zhu; Editing by David Clarke and Mark Potter)