China VC Weekly: COVID Vaccine and Xiaomi’s First EV Moves

In last week’s VC news, pharmaceutical firm Stemirna Therapeutics raises roughly $188 million for COVID vaccine trials, Xiaomi-backed fund invests in autonomous driving startup Zongmu Technology shortly after the company announced a foray into the EV market, supply chain information startup Xforceplus closes $200 million Series C round.

Stemirna Therapeutics Raises $188 million for COVID vaccine trials

Chinese pharmaceutical firm Stemirna Therapeutics said on Thursday it has raised nearly $188 million to finance clinical trials and production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The latest fundraising was led by investors including China Merchants Group’s health sector investment arm, Sequoia Capital China and pharmaceutical firm WuXi AppTec, Stemirna said.

Stemirna’s vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and is due to enter Phase II clinical trials soon. The new vaccine is being designed to be effective against variants spreading in South Africa, Brazil and India, the firm’s Chief Executive Li Hangwen said in a statement.

The firm is currently building two plants to produce a vaccine candidate, each with an annual capacity of 100 million doses, and construction could be completed by August.

About Stemirna

Stemirna is a drug development company specialized in technologies related to RNA. Founded in 2016, the company raised around $14 million in its series A funding round three years later.

Xiaomi-backed fund invests in autonomous driving startup Zongmu Technology

Chinese autonomous driving technology startup Zongmu Technology announced it has raised a total of $190 million in its Series D round of funding from a group of investors including a Xiaomi-backed investment fund.

Zongmu closed its latest financing round in three tranches, with the Series D3 round exclusively led by Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Other investors included Fosun Capital Group, Shanghai Technology Venture Capital (STVC) and Industrial Bank, as well as returning investors Legend Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Jadex Capital.

The company added that it is among the first group of companies Xiaomi invested in after the smartphone giant announced its foray into the competitive electric car industry in March.

The Hubei Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund is a 12 billion yuan fund jointly established in 2017 by Xiaomi, the Hubei provincial government and the government-backed Yangtze River Industry Fund to promote the tech giant’s ecosystem of products and services.

Zongmu’s previous Series D1 round was led by Japanese automotive components manufacturer Denso Corporation alongside other participants including Chongqing-based Liangjiang Capital, property developer Huantaihu Group and Jadex Capital, the company added. Its Series D2 round was co-led by Shenzhen-based Cowin Capital and Gaoyuan Capital.

The Shanghai-headquartered company is considering a listing on the city’s Nasdaq-like STAR board, according to a Bloomberg report citing Zongmu’s founder and chief executive officer.

About Zongmu

Founded in 2013, Zongmu is a provider of ADS (autonomous driving system) and ADAS (advanced driver assistance system)-related technologies, services and products, including an autonomous valet parking system. It operates an overseas R&D center in Stuttgart, Germany and has manufacturing divisions in Xiamen and Huzhou.

SEE ALSO: Autonomous Driving Startup Zongmu Technology Raises $190 Million from Investors Including Xiaomi, Qualcomm

Xforceplus closes $200 million Series C round

Xforceplus Information Technology has raised as much as $200 million in its Series C+ and C++ rounds of financing, according to a company’s announcement. The latest round brings the total amount raised by the IT company in its Series C round to about $200 million.

Xforceplus secured nearly $100 million in the first tranche of its Series C round led by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings in October 2019. The round also saw the participation of existing investors Hillhouse Capital and Eastern Bell Capital.

The latest round of funding was also joined by Dragoneer Investment Group, a US global investment group that has investments in Snowflake, Alibaba, ByteDance, Airbnb, Uber, and Slack, alongside MSA Capital, a Chinese private equity and venture capital firm with over $1.5 billion under management, and Huatai Securities’ Huatai Innovative Investment. China’s leading investment bank Taihecap facilitated the transaction.

About Xforceplus

Established in 2015, Xforceplus offers supply chain information collaboration and VAT invoice management to enterprises through its internet and cloud-based software services. Xforceplus’s flagship product Yipiaotong, which claims to be China’s largest invoice transaction integrated cloud platform, helps business entities improve tax risk control.