LVC-Backed CARsgen Therapeutics Has Successfully Listed on the Hong Kong Stocks Exchange and Made a Breakthrough in Cell Therapy
On June 18th, Loyal Valley Capital (LVC)’s portfolio company CARsgen Therapeutics (2171. HK), a global leader fighting against cancer with CAR-T therapy, was successfully listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and issued its initial public offering priced at HK $32.8 per share, with a total of 94.747 million shares issued. Loyal Valley Capital lead the company’s Series C financing with a total of US$186 million raised in September 2020.
CAR-T (also known as Chimeric Antigen Receptor) is a cell therapy technology specialized for T cell immunotherapy against tumors. T cells are a type of lymphocytes in our bloodstream. They are responsible to protect and detect tumor cells hidden within the human body. Based on recent clinical treatment performances, CAR-T has been recognized to have the most potential in completely curing cancer. This was demonstrated on the first patient who had received CAR-T treatment. Emily, the first American patient, who was diagnosed with leukemia, received CAR-T treatment and as a result, she has demonstrated the possibility of surviving cancer-free for more than 9 years.
Solid tumors accounts for more than 95% of the total tumor incidences. However, the current five CAR-T cell therapies that have received NDA approval are all targeting hematological tumors. CAR-T treatments for solid tumors still face challenges, such as unfavorable tumor microenvironment, difficulty to identify solid tumor-related antigens and target antigen heterogeneity.
In response to this concern, CARsgen adopts a differentiated competitive strategy to improve the safety and effectiveness of its own products targeting against popular hematological tumors. They are also, actively exploring potential "First-in-Class" targets in the field of solid tumors, finding an alternative way to overcome the challenges which the industry is currently facing. In its existing independent research and developed pipeline (except for CT053, CT032, KJ-C2111), the remaining 7 CAR-T products are for the treatment of solid tumors, mainly include CT041 and CT011. Carsgen’s CT041 is the only CAR-T products that is targeting Claudin 18.2, which has obtained IND approval in the world. It is also used to treat solid tumors such as gastric cancer and pancreatic cancer. CT011 is a potential first-in-class GPC3 CAR-T products in the world, and it is currently in clinical phase I in China.
As the lead investor in Carsgen’s C round of financing, Loyal Valley Capital has tracked Carsgen for a long time and took half a year to conduct due diligence on the company’s core products, commercialization capability and management team. LVC has used its ecosystem in the medical industry to continuously track the clinical data of core products and maintain close communication with core PIs (principal investigators). In the end, the breakthrough efficacy and the safety advantages of the core products were verified. This reflects LVC’s methodology in its investment, which is to take “huge and unmet clinical needs” as the inspirational starting point in our investment within this industry as well as for our in-depth research. Moreover, the entrepreneurial qualities demonstrated by Dr. Li Zonghai, Co-Founder and CEO of CARsgen Therapeutics, during his entrepreneurial period, was also what drove LVC to lead its C round investment.
In regards to the company’s listing, Dr. Li Zonghai said: "IPO is an important step for us to further internationalize and accelerate commercialization. Looking back on our past entrepreneurial history, I am grateful to LVC for its trust and support. I hope LVC can continue to use its ecosystem, strategic positioning, deep industrial insights in the future. Most importantly, take advantage of the circle, and support CARsgen, CAR-T therapy, and benefit more patients."
Mr. Roy Xie, Partner of LVC, said: "Congratulations to CARsgen Therapeutics for its successful listing! We look forward to what the company’s innovative differentiated cell therapies may bring to its cancer patients worldwide in the future. LVC will continue to support the company’s global R&D research. CARsgen is a globally competitive cell therapy company, and it has created an excellent pipeline with both First-in-Class and Best-in-Class products, especially in the field of solid tumors. Dr. Zonghai Li, the company's founder, along with his management team, have a strong strategic layout, innovative and execution ability, as well as a brilliant team spirit. With his support, CARsgen has made a lot of breakthroughs in the field of cell therapy and brought significant clinical benefits. We sincerely wish that CARsgen Therapeutics will continue to accelerate clinical research and development through its IPO. We hope that the products would be launched quickly so as to benefit more patients."