Biotech company Leto Laboratories raises tens of millions of RMB in Series A funding round
Published: March 19, 2019
(LIE YUN WRNG.COM)- the biotech company Leto Laboratories recently announced that it had raised tens of millions of RMB in Series A funding round, led by Med-Fine Capital and co-invested by Hygeia Capital, Qirong Venture Capital, and its existing investor Sherpa Healthcare Partners. This funding will be used to accelerate building its protein engineering and detection platform.
Prior to this, Leto Laboratories has received investments from Sherpa Healthcare Partners and Yield Capital; the latter is a venture capital arm under Beijing Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute.
Leto Laboratories was founded in December 2014, headquartered in Beijing. Its key technology- directional protein refolding can help deal with major challenges facing the biopharmaceutical industry and development of protein products.
As the share of biopharma rises in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals market of China in recent years, market demand for proteins, as sitting at the upstream of the industry chain, has seen a dramatic increase. However, Dr. Zhang Wei, founder of Leto Laboratories, said that the majority of the protein raw materials used in China is heavily dependent on import due to the very high technological barriers in protein design and production, and this is why companies in China lack competitiveness in this industry. Leto hopes to break up this monopoly and bridge the technological gaps that China faces through research on protein by its scientist team who has many years of experience in recombinant proteins.
Escherichia coli is the most used and stable exogenous protein expression system so far, while Leto Laboratories can lower the cost of protein production to less than one-tenth of mammalian expression by refolding the denatured solid proteins from E. coli back into highly active foldable ones, hence making it the core technology that Leto Laboratories possesses.
According to Leto Laboratories, it has entered into technology service cooperations with a number of listed domestic companies and closed several large orders. Since its founding, the company has produced over 30 kinds of cytokines and over 10 kinds of proteases with high activity.
Leto’s R&D team consists of scientists with experience in top domestic and international biopharma companies. Its founder, Dr. Zhang Wei, completed his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester, and his mentor is Professor Ken Douglas whose research focuses on proteins and molecular diagnostics. Dr. Zhang has worked as a senior research fellow studying mechanisms in cell biology in The Institute of Cancer Research. He also conducted research on small-molecule targeted drugs in the US, before joining Novo Nordisk back in China and a 5-year drug development there.