Clinical-Stage Biopharmaceutical Company Connect Biopharma Raises $115 Million

By Noah Long ● Aug 24, 2020
  • Connect Biopharma — a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying and developing potent and specific immune modulating molecules — announced that it has raised $115 million in Series C funding

Connect Biopharma — a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on identifying and developing potent and specific immune modulating molecules — announced that it has raised $115 million in Series C funding led by new investor RA Capital Management. New investors Lilly Asia Ventures, Boxer Capital, and HBM Healthcare Investments also joined existing investor Qiming Venture Partners in the financing. 

Connect Biopharma is a US and China-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is focused on discovery and development of novel immune modulators for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and inflammation, with the aim to improve the lives of patients in China and around the world by creating novel medicines with better efficacy and fewer side effects. And the company’s proprietary Immune Modulation Technology Platform is a high-throughput screening platform built on the biology of T cell function and rapidly identifies molecules that target clinically-validated disease pathways more efficiently than the traditional discovery approaches.

The company also announced that in connection with the funding, Derek DiRocco, PhD, Principal at RA Capital Management is joining the Connect Biopharma Board of Directors.

And the company plans to use the proceeds of the Series C financing to support the ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial for CBP-201 in adult patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) and the ongoing Phase 2 trials of CBP-307 in patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC); expand the CBP-201 clinical development program into additional indications; and manufacture clinical material to support future Phase 3 trials of CBP-201 and CBP-307. The company also expects to use a portion of the proceeds to advance additional preclinical programs into clinical development, including CBP-174, a small molecule in development for the treatment of pruritus.

Connect hit several important milestones in the first half of 2020 like reporting positive topline data from the Phase 1b study of CBP-201 in patients with moderate-to-severe AD and initiating a Phase 2 trial in this indication. And the company also enhanced its intellectual property estate for CBP-307 — which has broad potential in multiple autoimmune diseases. The company expects to advance CBP-174, a small molecule intended for the treatment of pruritus, into Phase 1 clinical development in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Along with its lead drug candidates, CBP-201 and CBP-307, the company is also advancing three preclinical programs, comprising two small molecule candidates (CBP-174 and CBP-312) and one antibody targeting IL-33 (CBP-233) as treatments for various serious inflammatory conditions. And the company holds all global rights to its proprietary pipeline and discovery technologies.


“Connect is focused on innovating best-in-class therapies to address patient need globally, and our ability to attract top-tier global investors is an important validation of the potential value of our pipeline and its underlying technologies. We believe that our wholly-owned and growing pipeline, technology, scientific and clinical expertise, and world-class investors position us for success in continued execution of our near-term objectives and attaining our long-term vision of improving care and outcomes for patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease.”

— Zheng Wei, PhD, Co-founder and CEO at Connect

“Connect’s proprietary Immune Modulation Technology Platform can transform the development of novel therapies for a wide array of serious inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that have significant unmet clinical need. We have been impressed both with the rapid pace at which the company has advanced CBP-201 into Phase 2 trials and the data that have been generated thus far. We believe that Connect’s pipeline could yield multiple products with blockbuster potential and are pleased to invest in a company with a track record of meeting its objectives and an exciting future. I look forward to working with the highly experienced management team and the Board to help the company realize its vision of developing next-generation immune modulators for the worldwide marketplace that improve patient care and outcomes.”

— Dr. Derek DiRocco

“The continued support of Qiming Venture Partners and our ability to attract new investors who have extensive expertise in the biopharmaceutical industry demonstrates both our ability to achieve our milestones and the growing excitement about the potential of our product candidates arising from our discovery technologies. RA Capital is dedicated to evidence-based investing in public and private healthcare and life science companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics, and we believe that Derek will make substantive contributions to our strategy for creating value for patients, healthcare systems and our investors. I am pleased to welcome him to the Board of Directors.”

— Dr. Wubin Pan, Co-founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Connect