Jack Ma-backed fund, Temasek invest in genomics business

Contract genomics organisation WuXi NextCODE is expanding in China as the country pushes into the emerging field of precision medicine.
Contract genomics organisation WuXi NextCODE is expanding in China as the country pushes into the emerging field of precision medicine. PHOTO: WUXINEXTCODE.COM

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - A fund backed by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Singapore's state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings made new investments in contract genomics organisation 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 US$75 million (S$104.5 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, 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 customising 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.