BioLineRx sets up Chinese JV, continuing trend for Sino-Israeli alliancesAug. 31, 2016
BioLineRx has teamed up with I-Bridge Capital to set up a Chinese drug development player, iPharma. The joint venture will use cash from both its parent companies to develop Israel-originated compounds picked out by BioLineRx, before looking for outside investment once its portfolio reaches a certain size.
Tel Aviv, Israel-based BioLineRx expects iPharma to add the first program to its pipeline in the coming months. Details of which asset it is looking at are yet to emerge, but BioLineRx has said what sort of compounds iPharma will develop. The focus is early-stage candidates, primarily discovered in Israel, that are a good fit for the therapeutic needs of China. BioLineRx is responsible for sourcing the drugs, while VC shop I-Bridge Capital is on board to provide knowledge of the Chinese market and money.
The partners are chipping in $1 million (€900,000) apiece to help iPharma get started. This seed cash is meant to get iPharma through the process of building its pipeline of early-stage assets. Once it has completed this stage of its evolution, iPharma plans to look to outside investors for the cash it needs to grow into a fully-fledged biotech.