WuXi NextCODE, a genomic big data platform resulted from a merger between Chinese contract research outsourcing provider WuXi AppTec’s genome center and NextCODE, has raised a US$240 million series B financing led by Sequoia Capital China. The round is among the largest venture financing deals for a start-up in the healthcare sector in China.
Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Yunfeng Capital and 3W Partners also participated in the round, whose final tally is larger than the firm’s initial announcement. Temasek, Yunfeng and 3W participated in the initial US$75 million series B round the company announced in May alongside Amgen Ventures and other existing investors.
"The success of this financing round, which includes some of the top technology and healthcare investors worldwide, underscores the breadth and depth of confidence in our vision: to serve as the global platform for using genome data to advance global health," said Hannes Smarason, CEO of WuXi NextCODE. “We have the unique expertise and now the resources to execute on this strategy. We plan to continue to push the leading edge of technology for digitizing, managing and analyzing genomic big data, including through our path-breaking artificial intelligence, and to put it at the service of ever more enterprises, institutions, and individuals around the world."
NextCODE was founded in 2013 as a spin-out of deCODE to use data architecture and the associated query tools and language to link disease causing variants to phenotypes around the world. In 2015, NextCODE was acquired by WuXi AppTec and merged with its Shanghai-based WuXi Genome Center, forming WuXi NextCODE.
With offices in Shanghai, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Iceland, WuXi NextCODE provides genomics services to precision medicine and diagnostics enterprises. Its capabilities span study design, sequencing, secondary analysis, storage, and interpretation and scalable analytics. It is also applying the same capabilities to advance a growing range of sequence-based tests and scans in China.
"Genomics is an intrinsically global big data opportunity of unprecedented scale, and with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, there will be explosive growth opportunities in the field of precision medicine," said Neil Shen, founding and managing partner of Sequoia China. "Sequoia China attaches great importance to investment in genomics and precision medicine. In leading WuXi NextCODE’s latest financing round, Sequoia China is able to support the company to build out a standard platform to efficiently turn sequence data into benefits for people worldwide. This is truly where healthcare and technology meet."
WuXi NextCODE is using the proceeds from this round to accelerate the extension of its platform infrastructure, the commercialization of its consumer solutions for the China market, and ultimately by enabling individuals to take charge of their own genomic data, says the company in an announcement.
"Our mission is to enable anyone to use the genome so that everyone can benefit from it," said Dr. Ge Li, chairman of WuXi NextCODE and founder and chairman of WuXi AppTec. "That is why we are building the global platform for genomic data and why we so pleased to have attracted such a stellar group of investors who not only share our vision but are uniquely positioned to support our growth. Only a platform with millions of genomes can provide the network effect and knowledge base that enable everyone to derive greater benefit, continually attracting more users, more data, and delivering ever more powerful health insights to serve people and patients everywhere.”