Cell Therapy Biotech Venture Raises $150m Series A Financing

Legend Biotech Corporation

Legend Biotech Corporation (Legend), a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel cell therapies for oncology and other indications, raised $150 million in Series A financing. The capital infusion will go toward advancement of the research and development and commercialization of the firm’s pipeline programs and expansion of manufacturing facilities as well as general corporate expenses. Additional investors include Hudson Bay Capital Management LP, Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC, Inc., Lilly Asia Ventures, Vivo Capital, RA Capital Management, and another large reputable institutional investor. The transaction was supported by investment bankers including Morgan Stanley Asia Limited and Jeffries Hong Kong Limited.

TrialSite Investor Watch breaks this firm down.

What year was the firm founded, and by whom?

The founder, Dr. Frank Zhang, founded the company in 2014 under the name GenScript Inc., which at the time was the first Chinese CAR-T therapy venture.

Where is the firm located?

The firm is headquartered in China with presence in North America (New Jersey) and Ireland.

What are their core areas of research?

Legend specializes in the development of stem therapy markets; their first product candidate, LCAR-B38M, is a B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy. The company reports that the novel dual-epitope design of the BCMA targeting domain facilitates tight bonding to BCMA, which is highly expressed on primary myeloma cells and plasma cells. Proof of concept has been achieved in an investigator-initiated, first-in-human study conducted in 74 patients with a relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma in China.

Legend Biotech has entered into a collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize LCAR-B38M (JNJ-68284528) worldwide. 

The company received clearance from the China National Medical Product Administration in March 2018 for a Phase II registration study in China. Janssen received US Food and Drug Administration clearance for an investigational New Drug Application in May 2018, and has since initiated a Phase Ib/II study intended for registration in the US and EU.

The company currently has 9 active clinical trials, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.