AskGene Limited Announces Completion of $20M Series A Funding Led by Qiming Venture Partners and TF Capital


CAMARILLO, Calif. and NANJING, China, May 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — AskGene Limited (“AskGene”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative biologic drugs, today announced the completion of $20 million in a Series A financing. The financing was led by Qiming Venture Partners and TF Capital. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the clinical development of AskGene’s strong portfolio of innovative therapeutic candidates and the development of the SmartKine® cytokine prodrug platform.

Cytokines are well-validated co-stimulators and show great promise in immunotherapy, however, they have short half-lives, severe systemic toxicity, and narrow therapeutic windows. SmartKine® is a transformational cytokine technology platform developed by AskGene with worldwide intellectual property rights. The technology overcomes the limitations of current cytokine therapies and brings next-generation cytokine therapies to patients with unmet medical needs. SmartKine® molecules are designed to selectively activate a subset of immune cells preferentially at a diseased site to improve functional selectivity, developmental capacity and therapeutic indices of cytokines.

“We are very pleased to have the support of blue-chip investors who share our vision to precisely modulate the immune system at sites of disease,” said Jeff Lu, Chairman and CEO of AskGene Limited. “This is an exciting time for our company. We are advancing several potentially first-in-class or best-in-class molecules from our SmartKine® platform into preclinical and clinical development later this year. In addition, our ASKB589 and ASKG712 clinical programs is progressing smoothly. We look forward to promising results from several clinical programs later this year and next year.”

“Cancer remains one of the major disease burdens for patients and IO has demonstrated its effectiveness,” said William HuManaging Partner of Qiming Venture Partners, “AskGene’s team demonstrates a deep understanding of IO and protein engineering. We believe their proprietary platform continues to drive more pipelines to clinics and the market. .”

Allan LiuDirector of TF Capital, commented: “The application of immunostimulatory cytokines has emerged as a promising approach in cancer immunotherapy, but unfavorable pharmacokinetics and safety profile limit their clinical development and application. AskGene’s proprietary SmartKine® platform can overcome the limitations of first-generation recombinant cytokines by achieving conditional activation of cytokines in the tumor microenvironment to unlock the full therapeutic potential. We are thrilled to partner with AskGene’s exceptional leadership team as they advance SmartKine® molecules into the clinic with the ultimate goal of delivering better outcomes for cancer patients.

About Qiming Venture Partners

Founded in 2006, Qiming Venture Partners is a leading Chinese venture capital firm with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Hong Kong, Seattle, Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, Qiming Venture Partners manages ten US dollar funds and six RMB funds with over $6.2 billion AUM capital raised. Since its inception, Qiming Venture Partners has invested in outstanding start-up and growth-stage TMT and healthcare companies.

Since its inception, Qiming Venture Partners has supported more than 430 innovative and fast-growing companies. More than 170 companies are already listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, HKEx, Gretai Securities Market, Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange, or have successfully exited through mergers and acquisitions and other means . There are also over 40 holding companies that have achieved unicorn status.

About TF Capital

TF Capital focuses on investing in the life sciences industry, investing primarily in high-potential start-up companies. Through strategic investments in various key areas and good partnerships, TF Capital hopes to seize opportunities in the booming Chinese life sciences market. Our investment team has extensive industry experience and resources to help our portfolio companies.

About AskGene

AskGene is an innovative company advancing immunotherapies for cancers and autoimmune diseases. The company’s vision is to apply next-generation platform technology to unlock the full therapeutic potential of cytokines with improved safety profiles. Through its SmartKine® platform technology and pipeline programs, AskGene aspires to achieve its overarching goal of modulating the immune system at a site of disease with selectivity and precision. Other clinical-stage programs include ASKB589 (a Phase I/II anti-CLDN 18.2 antibody) and ASKG712 (a Phase I anti-VEGF antibody-ANG2 antagonist peptide fusion molecule).

SOURCEAskGene Limited


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