【Portfolio】Anji Pharma Secures $70 Million to Deploy Dynamic Equity and Further Build a Global Medicines Company
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28 Sep 2021
Anji introduces dynamic equity approach to build high-value therapeutic pipeline addressing treatment gaps in metabolic disorders, oncology, neuroscience, and infectious disease
Financing proceeds to support advancement of Anji’s lead Phase 3 and Phase 2 clinical assets, with initial data expected next year
Financing proceeds also to advance clinic-ready programs acquired by Anji’s first subsidiary, Anji Onco, Inc.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and SHANGHAI, September 28, 2021 — Anji Pharma (“Anji”), an emerging global medicines company, today announced the close of a $70 million Series B financing round to seed its oncology pipeline and continue global trials of its two late-stage clinical programs in metabolic disorders. The Series B round was solely invested by CR Capital, a leading cross-border venture capital firm with a growing life science investment footprint in North America.
“Anji is pioneering a unique ‘dynamic equity’ approach to build a broad, global pipeline of high-value drug candidates backed by compelling biological mechanisms,” said Lin Sun, CR Capital’s founding partner. “With an experienced team of domain experts and a dual U.S./China clinical trial strategy, we expect Anji to achieve higher clinical success rates with lower development costs, creating long-term value for its investors and partners.”
Anji’s dynamic equity approach establishes a joint venture with a program’s originator where additional equity vests as Anji meets clinical milestones. Anji identifies programs with high probability of clinical success and then leverages its hub-and-spoke infrastructure to perform definitive studies for each program.
“Anji is bucking the trend of paying large upfront payments to acquire clinic-ready programs, choosing instead to share a potential upside that could far exceed traditional deal structures,” said Brian Hubbard, Ph.D., CEO of Anji Pharma. “It’s a win-win-win approach for Anji, its partners, and its investors, as dollar resources are laser focused on advancing assets through clinical trials. We look forward to using these proceeds to expand our Phase 3 program for ANJ900, deliver clinical data next year for ANJ908, and continue building a broad pipeline that addresses global health needs.”
Anji’s lead clinical asset, ANJ900, is designed for gut-targeted delivery of metformin and is in Phase 3 clinical trials for Type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients with moderate renal impairment (the “DREAM-T2D” trial, NCT04854512). Recent published research highlights the major role of the gut in metformin-induced glucose disposal, akin to how other T2D medications, such as SGLT2 inhibitors, promote glucose excretion via the kidney. With full systemic exposure of metformin no longer required for HbA1c lowering, ANJ900 has the potential to be used in patient populations where metformin is currently contraindicated. Anji plans to expand its clinical study of ANJ900 into T2D patients with severe chronic kidney disease in 2022.
Anji’s second clinical asset, ANJ908, is in Phase 2 clinical trials to treat chronic idiopathic constipation (NCT04620161). ANJ908 is designed to address disease pathophysiology by increasing fecal water content and bowel movement frequency, serving a patient population where current treatments are poorly effective. The synchronous development of ANJ908 in the U.S. and China reflects a key Anji strategy: to reduce the approval “white space” between important regions across the globe. Data from the combined U.S. and China trials are expected in mid-2022.
A portion of the Series B proceeds will be used to advance additional assets into first-in-human clinical trials. Using its dynamic equity approach, Anji plans to add programs in oncology, neuroscience, and infectious disease to go alongside its metabolic disease portfolio. In June, Anji acquired global rights to an MCL1 inhibitor program through its subsidiary Anji Onco, Inc. and will continue to expand the pipeline through additional acquisitions.
About Anji Pharma
Anji Pharma is a clinical-stage company dedicated to bringing life-changing therapies to patients across the globe. Anji’s asset-centric business model allows for speed and flexibility in building value, leveraging a clinical and regulatory core that operates with “hub-and-spoke” efficiency. Anji’s clinical pipeline includes gut-targeted metformin (ANJ900 in Phase 3) intended for glucose management in patients with type 2 diabetes and advanced chronic kidney disease, as well as pradigastat (ANJ908 in Phase 2) for treatment of functional constipation.