Temasek, Yunfeng lead funding for genomics firm

SHANGHAI • Alibaba chief Jack Ma's private equity firm Yunfeng Capital and Temasek Holdings have led a US$75 million (S$104.75 million) fund-raising round for genomics company WuXi NextCODE, the firm said in a statement yesterday, underlining a race for medical data in China.

WuXi NextCODE, a contract genomics organisation with offices in Shanghai, Iceland and the United States, said it would use the funds to commercialise its products for China, and boost its capabilities in artificial intelligence and deep learning.

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 for economic growth.

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.

The firms are increasingly looking to boost capabilities in genomics amid a drive into higher-tech medicines, where understanding and mapping DNA-related data can help develop targeted medicines and treatments.

"We are building the world's leading genomics data platform, applying genome sequencing data at a scale to improve human health and wellness around the world," WuXi NextCODE's chief executive Hannes Smarason, said in the statement.

He added their data would support a drive to develop precision medicines, which China plans to focus on in its latest five-year plan, as well as genome-driven diagnostics.

The series B financing round also included Amgen's venture capital fund Amgen Ventures and private equity firm 3W Partners, WuXi NextCODE said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Temasek, Yunfeng lead funding for genomics firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe