A round of financing
In February 2020, Guangzhou PackGene Biotech Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “PackGene”) completed the A round of financing invested by Tengye Ventures. In the future, PackGene will continue to promote the technological innovation of viral vectors, provide services for the gene therapy industries worldwide, and accelerate the industrialization of gene therapy.
Sun Jingwei the partner and managing director of Tengye Ventures, the investor in this round, said: “Tengye Ventures has always paid close attention to cutting-edge exploration and technological innovation in the field of gene drug therapy. PackGene has not only mastered the advanced technology, but also obtained a good reputation among the customers. In the process of due diligence, we were deeply moved by the hard-working, pragmatic work style and passionate team spirit of PackGene members, and we are full of confidence in the future development of the company. We are now fighting against it. During the special period of the epidemic, we very much look forward that PackGene and its partners can produce great results in the research and development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutic drugs as soon as possible, and contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.”
PackGene is a start-up company founded by core team members led by a Ph.D. returned from the United States. It is positioned as a genetic drug industrialization platform starting from AAV production and vector research and development. Dr. Huapeng Li, one of the company’s co-founders, has been engaged in AAV vector gene therapy research for many years at the Gene Therapy Center of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (the institution with the most AAV invention patents in the world). The co-founder team has more ten to thirty years of rich experience in gene therapy viral vector design, pre-clinical upstream & downstream technology, biological medicine, clinical operation of gene therapy drugs, and project management, the core members have led the preclinical development, production and clinical trials of a variety of gene therapy drugs. PackGene now has 600 square meters of GLP-level AAV production platform, 500 square meters of GMP pilot workshop (meet IND application AAV production requirements), 4000 square meters of large-scale GMP base is under construction, and is expected to be put into use by the end of 2020.
PackGene is committed to solving the bottleneck of viral vector production in the gene therapy industry chain, and has achieved the rapid production of high-titer viral vectors through its self-developed technology platform. Parallel experiments carried out by many third parties have found that the indicators including quality and infection rate of AAV produced by the PackGene platform are all excellent. Take the custom production of AAV with a total product amount of 1E+15GC as an example, the conventional delivery period in the industry is 3-4 months, while, the delivery efficiency of PackGene has been greatly improved and the delivery period has been shortened to within 10 working days via technological innovation. Not only has it helped customers significantly shorten the R&D cycle and gained a leading advantage in R&D that is worth a thousand pieces of gold, but also won unanimous affirmation and praise from many customers in terms of quality.
It has been three years since the establishment of PackGene. Without building a sale team, the turnover has achieved double to six-fold growth three in a row due to the good reputation.
In July 2019, the Pre-A round of financing invested by Kaitai Capital was completed. Kaitai Capital became a shareholder of PackGene, and said: “We believe that only diligence and focus can create unique value, the strong tenacity and low-key pragmatic style of the company core team is expected to continue to create value for society and benefit more patients with quality and quantity.”
In November 2019, PackGene passed the national high-tech enterprise certification of China.
PackGene has provided AAV packaging services for more than 100 biomedical companies in the nine countries or regions, including Biogen, AstraZeneca, Luye Pharma, EdiGene, etc. and the long-term customers of research institutions, obtained a wide range of praise and recognition.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, the development of preventive vaccines and drugs for the COVID-19 is an urgent need concerning life and death around the world. PackGene has been entrusted by four scientific research institutions, including Guangzhou Regenerative Medicine and Health Guangdong Laboratory, and the team of Academician Zhong Nanshan, to undertake the design, construction and virus production of AAV vectors in the development of vaccines and drugs.
In order to speed up the development of vaccines and drugs to overcome the epidemic as soon as possible, during the Spring Festival, the founder and team members of PackGene worked together, instead of returning home and reunite with their families, they have been working overtime with high intensity. At the same time, in order to solve the bottleneck of the humanized ACE2 mouse animal model encountered during the development of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the AAV vector carrying the humanized ACE2 gene developed by PackGene was applied to the modeling of experimental animals, shorten the model-building cycle greatly, and further promote the development of coronavirus vaccines and drugs.
About Tengye Ventures
Tengye Ventures focuses on equity investment and management of start-up companies, aiming to find outstanding teams with core technology and product accumulation in emerging industries to invest. Its investment areas include TMT, biomedicine and healthcare, new energy and energy conservation and environmental protection, advanced manufacturing and high-end equipment industries.
Tengye Ventures is very fortunate to be an investor in a series of excellent startups at the beginning and in early stages, and became the most important business partner of these startups and developed together with startups. Typical investment cases include Tianyancha and GiqaDevice (GD32), Hyper Strong, CENTRE, GENEMIND, Bellen Group, WeLion New Energy Technology, Guodian Gaoke Technology, etc.