Chinese genomic information company Wuxi NextCODE has completed $200 million Series C funding led by ISIF. The Irish state-backed fund ISIF came in for $70 million and was joined by Singapore government investment company Temasek, Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, and Sequoia Capital.
NextCODE completed its Series B fundraising in September last year with $240 million also from Temasek, Yunfeng and Sequoia. The startup raised $15 million in Series A funding from Polaris Partners and ARCH Venture Partners in October 2013.
According to its website, NextCODE's products and services include genetic sourcing, sequencing and analyzing. The result of its research can be used for drug development and other genetic clinical applications.
NextCODE is a subsidiary of Wuxi AppTec, a pharmaceutical company based in eastern China that listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in May. It revived plans for a joint listing in Hong Kong on Thursday and aims to raise as much as $1 billion. WuXi AppTec will finalize the price next month and list on Hong Kong Stock Exchange on December 13.
As a part of WuXi AppTec, NextCODE said the company will use proceeds to expand Genomics Medicine Ireland, an Irish company it bought last year, and to accelerate its plans to enroll and sequence the entire genome of some 400,000 people from across Ireland.
It is a sensitive time for any company to announce a gene-related investment. News broke on Wednesday in Hong Kong about a Chinese scholar who claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies. This has drawn huge criticism from scholars around the world. Many have condemned his research as immoral with unpredictable dangers.
Beijing ordered an investigation into his research and the shares of listed genomics companies were all hit. As a Chinese genomics research company, NextCODE could be restrained as regulations into gene research are tightening, and the government may keep a closer eye on any gene-related clinical trials.
That’s probably one of the reasons that the company chose Ireland as one of its research sites. With an open attitude to such research from the government, the company wants to build a genetic data centre there and push ahead with its research. This will be in the spotlight from now on, and people and governments will do all they can to make sure it brings something beneficial to mankind.