27 July 2020 – CureVac Officially Closes $640m Round

Deals

CureVac has officially closed a $640m round, adding $126m to recent investments that included $171m from GlaxoSmithKline through a strategic partnership. That’s one of the biggest venture rounds ever in the life sciences sector, and the interest likely stems from the potential of its messenger RNA therapies to form the basis of a Covid-19 vaccine, though it could eventually also be used in vaccines or antibody treatments for a range of diseases including cancer and rabies.

The surge in online shopping has led to substantial growth for companies like Instacart but that growth is, if anything, even more pronounced in China. Xingsheng Youxuan was formed by supermarket chain Furong Xingsheng at the start of 2018 but the group buying platform has gone from strength to strength and is reportedly in line to close $800m in a series C-plus round featuring Tencent at a $4bn valuation. That’s less than a month after a Bloomberg report stating that it was raising $300m in a series C round valuing it at $3bn.

And now another big player in China’s online grocery market, MissFresh, has confirmed it has secured $495m in funding, in a round previously reported to value it above $3bn. The round was led by China International Capital Corporation but MissFresh’s earlier investors include Tencent and Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group.

Smart electric vehicle manufacturer Xiaopeng Motors revealed today it has secured about $500m in a series C-plus round featuring Aspex Management, Coatue, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital China. The company has two models in production and has raised roughly $2.2bn altogether, its earlier investors including Alibaba, Foxconn, UCar and Xiaomi.

Anti-tumour drug developer HaiHe Biopharma raised about $147m early last year in one of the biggest series A rounds for a life sciences company in recent times. It’s now added $171m in a series B that included returning investor CSPC Pharmaceutical Group in addition to Legend Capital. HaiHe has an 11-strong pipeline of drug candidates and the capital will support the continuation of their clinical development and, theoretically, their commercialisation.

Innovium produces network infrastructure technology for data centres and has secured $170m in a series E round backed by Qualcomm Ventures, an investor since series A stage. The round more than doubled Innovium’s overall funding to about $335m and the company said it expects the latest capital influx to sustain operations for the next few years. With increased online activity a given over that time, it looks like a decent bet from here.

Online insurance has stealthily become one of the fastest growing sectors of the tech space in recent years, with a series of companies targeting different parts of the industry. Hippo Enterprises’ focus is on home insurance and it has closed a $150m series E roundfeaturing Standard Industries, Comcast Ventures, Lennar and the BBVA-backed Propel Venture Partners. The round boosted Hippo’s valuation from $1bn in its series D round a year ago to $1.5bn today.

One of the interesting things about the coronavirus-era landscape in venture capital is that it seems to be hurrying along the adoption of technologies in a range of areas that involve the reduction of direct human interaction. Take Talkdesk, the Salesforce-backed call centre software provider that has just raised $143m in series C funding. As the scope for direct contact with customers is reduced, it facilitates the need for online and phone-based customer service to be more proactive, making its product a more attractive proposition. It is now valued at more than $3bn.

Encoded embeds $135m in series D round

Coursera enrols in $130m series F round

Gett parks $100m in its account

Antengene accesses $97m series C

Contextual data software provider Quantexa has bagged $64.7m in a series C roundfeaturing long-time investor HSBC as well as corporate venturing units ABN Amro Ventures and Accenture Ventures. Proceeds from the round, which lifted the UK-based company’s overall funding to $90m will go to international expansion.

University

Purdue packs a punch with 22 new spinouts

Mingdu Intelligent manufactures series A-plus funding

TileDB structures $15m series A

Mori reaps $12m series A

Exits

It’s been a crowded IPO season as tech companies scramble to go public amidst heady demand. Cell biology technology provider Berkeley Lights has had one of the most successful however, pricing an upsized offering above its range and then watching as it shares nearly tripled in price on their first day of trading. The IPO generated more than $178m and is set to shortly close at over $205m. Nikon and Varian Medical are among Berkeley Light’ fortunate investors.

Pandion stands up in $135m IPO

The Roche and GSK-backed autoimmune disease drug developer has also gone public in an upsized initial public offering after at least $138m in venture funding.

There’s been speculation for a few months that Ant Group – the Alibaba affiliate also known as Ant Financial – was considering an initial public offering, but Ant has revealed it’s prepping a dual listing set to take place on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market. China Life and China Post are also among Ant’s investors, and recent reports have suggested it will aim to increase its valuation from $150bn in 2018 to about $200bn in the IPO.

Indian online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar is reportedly looking at 2021 for its own IPO, and in the meantime is eyeing $250m in funding at a $2bn valuation. PolicyBazaar’s parent company ETechAces also operates financial services portal PaisaBazaar and had raised $417m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and Info Edge prior to a secondary share purchase in November that valued it at $1.5bn.

Pharmaceutical firm Novo is in line for a couple of IPO exits, from Checkmate Pharmaceuticals and also from gene therapy developer Freeline Therapeutics, which has filed for a $100m offering. Checkmate joins the IPO game with $75m filing a month after its last funding round.The interesting thing is that Novo only recently came in as an investor to Freeline’s series C round something like three weeks ago. Then again, with the hit rate from several recent IPOs being very high, it may be seeking some quick returns.

Funds

HealthQuad Announces First Close Of Its $73 Mn Healthtech Fund

India-based venture capital firm Quadria Capital has made the first close of its second HealthQuad fund at $68m, including a commitment from US-based pharmaceuticals company Merck and Belgium-based conglomerate Ackermans & van Haaren (AvH).

Essity Ventures formation

Indico Capital Partners launches €12 million pre-seed fund to invest in Portuguese startups selected for joint Accelerator with Google for Startups


“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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