Anticancer treatment developer Well Marker Bio said it has completed the so-called “Series-A” funding to raise 28 billion won ($25 million), six months after raising 4.5 billion won seed funding in April.
Series-A funding refers to the first round of financing of around 1 billion won, which a startup company receives from a venture capital after two to five years since the company’s foundation. Series-B funding is for an expansion of business, and Series-C funding, for a larger market share of the stabilized business and a faster growth through overseas expansion.
Industry sources said Well Marker Bio raised 28 billion won investment from multiple institutional investors including venture capitals, asset management firms, and brokerages.
The investors include the Korea Development Bank, Yozma Group Korea, GAIA Venture Partners, KB Securities, IBK Capital, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Magellan Technology Investment, Friend Investment Partners, Widwin Investment, Meritz Securities, and The Wells Investment.
Well Marker Bio said it would use the raised fund for spending in preclinical and clinical trials of investigational anticancer treatments and additional pipeline development.
In December 2016, the company was established as a spin-off of Asan Medical Center. The company is developing five targeted therapies based on predictive biomarkers, and all of the five pipelines aim to be first-in-class drugs that use a new mechanism of action for treating a disease.
Recently, the company has been focusing on developing a targeted therapy for colon cancer patients who are resistant to Erbitux (cetuximab), and immunotherapy for lung cancer.
The two experimental drugs are receiving support from the Korea Drug Development Fund, a consortium of health-related ministries. The company is seeking to license out two investigational drugs to overseas firms in partnership with PharmaVentures, a U.K.-based investment bank specializing in the pharmaceutical industry.
Additional pipelines and drugs planned to arrive in the local and global market will be developed only as innovative medicines, Well Marker Bio said. The upcoming medication will be developed based on predictive biomarkers, too, according to the company.
“The new funding will enable us to focus on the targeted substance for colon cancer resistant to Erbitux and other on-going studies,” said Jin Dong-hoon, CEO of Well Marker Bio. “By conducting preclinical and clinical research steadily, we will raise the license-out possibilities.”
In the future, the company plans to develop pipelines for other types of cancer, he added. The company has been discussing with Yozma Group to conduct a trial on biomarker-based anticancer pipelines since September jointly.