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Immune cell gene therapy startup Gracell raises US$85m in Temasek-led series B round

IMMNUNE cell gene therapy startup Gracell Biotechnologies has raised US$85 million through a series B round led by Singapore government investment firm Temasek Holdings.

Also taking part in the financing round were Lilly Asia Ventures, Kington Capital, King Star Capital and Chengdu Miaoji.

Suzhou, China-based Gracell, whose technology focuses on developing modified immune cells called T-cells, will use the proceeds to enter clinical trials for several of its next-generation candidates. The company has already completed pre-clinical development of a series of low-cost Chimeric Antigen Receptors T-cell (CAR T) therapy products and entered Institutional Review Board (IRB) clinical research.

The company said that it expects to develop a data package from its clinical IRB studies and advance several products to Investigational New Drug filings and clinical trials in the near future.

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Gracell is led by William Cao, who previously headed Nasdaq-listed Cellular Biomedicine Group.

"Immune cell gene therapy is expected to become a pillar of modern medicine, but the industry is still in its infancy," Mr Cao said in a press release. "Challenges and opportunities coexist. Gracell has a leading technology platform and a mission-driven team that is committed to solving industry-wide cellular gene therapy technical difficulties. The company's goal is to develop high-quality, low-cost, easy-to-use cellular gene therapies that bring hope to cancer patients in need."

Gracell previously received series A financing from 6 Dimensions.