Biotech IPO candidate

Investors bet on speciality pharmaceuticals in China

Speciality pharmaceutical company CF PharmTech is looking to raise at least $72 million in funding and has its sights set on an IPO in the near future.

Speciality pharmaceutical company CF PharmTech, which develops inhalation products for illnesses like asthma, is raising at least $72 million in pre-IPO funding, as investors see a profitable future in its treatments for chronic diseases.

The investment is expected to complete in the next few months, and funding will be used to accelerate CF PharmTech’s development. The company is expected to start selling its products in the second half of next year.

CF PharmTech is also planning an IPO in the next one to two years, after its products enter the market.

Established in 2008, the company has more than 20 projects in its pipeline, covering four forms of inhalation dosage. Chairman Bill Liang told FinanceAsia that the company is targeting markets in China, Europe and the US.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the world's third largest chronic illness with a high mortality. It can cause continuous coughing and sometimes severe breathing problems. As the country with the largest consumption of tobacco in the world, China faces more serious cases of the disease than others.

CF PharmTech is developing inhaled products for respiratory diseases, including metered dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, nebulisers and nasal sprays. It is also a contract manufacturing organisation that manufactures products for third party pharmaceutical research teams.

The inhalation products market is expected to grow in the next five years, Liang said. It reached $2.8 billion in China last year and is estimated to hit $4 billion by 2020.

The journey to bring inhalation products to the market is long, Liang emphasised, as the process in complicated and needs special devices to proceed. In China, the regulatory review of inhalation products causes more difficulties as products are only approved on a case-by-case basis.

Most inhalation products in the Chinese market have to be imported. CF PharmTech wants to fill this gap and produce China-made inhalation medicines. It finished construction of its factory in 2014.

The company completed its $63 million Series D funding in August 2017, with money from SDIC Fund, CCB International, Gantry Capital and others. It raised undisclosed Series C funding in 2016.

CF PharmTech is collaborating with overseas pharmaceutical companies and research teams to develop inhalation products. It is currently working on a bioequivalence study and clinical trials of budesonide inhalation which can control the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory disease. The company also intends to conduct pharmacokinetic studies, research into how organisms affect the drugs. This study will focus mainly on products used in the US market.


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