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Viela Bio Spins Out of MedImmune; Raises Up to $250 Million in Series A Financing, 6 Dimensions Capital Leads Investment

6 Dimensions Capital
Posted on: 28 Feb 18

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Viela Bio announced today that it has incorporated as an independent, inflammation - and autoimmunity - focused biotechnology company after spinning out from MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. Viela Bio will primarily focus on developing medicines for severe autoimmune diseases by targeting critical pathways that are the root cause of the diseases.

Viela Bio raised the Series A round of up to $250 million co-led by 6 Dimensions Capital, Boyu Capital and Hillhouse Capital, with participation from Temasek and Sirona Capital. AstraZeneca will remain the largest minority shareholder of Viela Bio.

MedImmune will contribute three clinical and three preclinical potential new medicines to Viela Bio, including inebilizumab, currently in Phase II development. Inebilizumab has received Orphan Drug Designation from both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Inebilizumab is being evaluated for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica (NMO), a rare condition that affects the optic nerve and spinal cord.

Viela Bio will use the proceeds from the initial financing to deliver the Phase II study of inebilizumab, efficiently develop the early-stage portfolio, and continue exploring existing and novel pathways for next-generation inflammation and autoimmune therapy. Viela is based in Gaithersburg, MD.

"We are launching Viela Bio with a strong investor backing and a very robust pipeline with multiple novel molecules in inflammation and autoimmunity," said Dr. Yao. "This is combined with a strong, expanding team that has in-depth scientific and clinical development expertise, and the ability to bring important, innovative medicines to patients."

Dr. Yao brings more than 20 years' experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to his role as Viela's CEO. Most recently, Dr. Yao was Senior Vice President, Head of MedImmune's Respiratory, Inflammation, Autoimmune Innovative Medicines unit. During his tenure at MedImmune, he held key leadership roles in the development and approval of three novel biologics for autoimmune, respiratory, and immune-oncology indications respectively. Before joining MedImmune, Dr. Yao held leadership positions at  Genentech and Tanox. Dr. Yao also held multiple positions at Aventis and Amgen.

"Autoimmune diseases represent one of the largest unmet medical needs globally," said Leon Chen, Managing Partner and CEO of 6 Dimensions Capital. "Viela Bio has been formed with a best-in-class biologics pipeline that is both high quality and includes comprehensive modalities tackling autoimmunity. As an investor in this startup, 6 Dimensions Capital is confident that those innovative programs will be advanced further by the experienced scientific and business leaders at Viela Bio."

Viela Bio represents the largest deal that 6 Dimensions Capital has invested in since its establishment. Dr. Bing Yao and his team has domain expertise and a track record for novel and effective biologics against autoimmune diseases, alongside the strong backing of AstraZeneca. Sharing Viela's vision, the team at 6 Dimensions Capital strives to build platform companies, to help entrepreneurs fulfill significant unmet clinical needs, and to nurture ecosystem for life science innovation. Leading this investment in Viela Bio is an important step to realize our investment philosophy and strategy.

About 6 Dimensions Capital

6 Dimensions Capital is a leading healthcare focused investment firm with an in-depth focus and extensive coverage across China and the United States.  The firm currently has US$1.6 billion assets under management through 4 US dollar-denominated and 3 RMB-denominated funds with offices in Shanghai, Boston, Hong Kong and San Francisco. 

6 Dimensions Capital was formed in May 2017 through the merger of Frontline BioVentures and WuXi Healthcare Ventures, two prominent and complementary China-U.S. healthcare investment firms. The merger has created a powerhouse that aims to fund innovation in an optimal position to capture the biggest value appreciation on both sides of the Pacific.

For more information on 6 Dimensions Capital, please visit www.6dimensionscapital.com

About Viela Bio

Viela Bio is a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering and advancing treatments for severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The Company's portfolio selectively targets shared critical pathways that are the root cause of disease. Led by a team of global leaders in inflammation and autoimmunity, Viela Bio strives to be a fully integrated biotechnology company, helping millions of patients worldwide. Viela Bio is located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Learn more at www.vielabio.com.

Editor's Details

Mike Wood
PharmiWeb.com
www.pharmiweb.com
editor@pharmiweb.com

Last updated on: 28/02/2018

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