WI Harper-backed XWPharma (formerly XW Laboratories), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of therapeutics that apply platform chemistry to time-regulated neurobiology, today announced it completed a $40 million Series C financing. The financing was led by Panacea Venture, with participation from existing investors: WI Harper Group, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund and KTB Network, and new investors, CDIB Yida Healthcare Fund, Hontai Capital and Trinity Fund.
XWPharma expects to use proceeds from the financing to advance clinical development of the company’s lead investigational programs: XW10172, a GABABreceptor agonist intended for the treatment of sleep disorders in narcolepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases; and XW10508, a glutamatergic NMDA antagonist and AMPA activator, designed for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder and patients suffering chronic pain.
The company also announced the appointment of industry veteran Leonard Blum as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Blum succeeds Jia-Ning Xiang, Ph.D., who is the company Founder and Chairman. Dr. Xiang will assume the role of Chief Scientific Officer.
“Leonard has extensive experience in successfully developing and commercializing best-in-class therapeutics to achieve market leadership and in leading global biopharmaceutical organizations,” said Dr. Xiang. “We are thrilled to have him join us as we expand our company footprint in the U.S. and plan to rapidly advance our transformative therapeutics through development, registration and launch.”
Mr. Blum joins the company following a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years of international biopharmaceutical experience, including as Chief Commercial Officer at Omeros Corporation, Theravance, Inc. and ICOS Corporation (acquired by Eli Lilly). Previously, he served in roles of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co., Inc. In these roles, Mr. Blum designed and built commercial organizations in the U.S. and abroad, had national and global responsibilities in development, regulatory approval, partnering, sales and marketing of over 20 pharmaceutical brands, and led multiple blockbuster drug launches across a broad array of therapeutic categories. In particular, his work on the launch and life cycle planning and development of CIALIS®is the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies. Mr. Blum received his A.B. from Princeton University magna cum laudeand an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Zurich. Prior to joining the pharma industry, Blum served as an officer in the U.S. Army Special Forces and was designated the Honor Graduate (first ranking) of the Special Operations Detachment Officer Course 6-86.
“Affordability in pharmaceutical products is a major problem that afflicts national healthcare systems globally. We believe that XW Labs’ vision and expertise in creating innovative new drugs that focus on optimizing delivery and functional profiles, will significantly improve the value proposition of drugs for patients and payers,” said Johnson Lin, Healthcare Partner at WI Harper. “We are delighted to partner with such a talented team, alongside world-class co-investors as XW Labs gear up for the next phase of their growth.”
| About XWPharma:
XWPharma (formerly XW Laboratories) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of therapeutics that apply platform chemistry to time-regulated neurobiology. XWPharma’s expertise in drug design is focused on providing potential first- and best-in-class medicines with differentiated features to address the unmet medical needs of patients suffering from debilitating neurological diseases. XW10172 is a clinical-stage, GABABagonist in development as an investigational once-nightly therapy intended to regulate the patient’s sleep cycle in order to alleviate excessive daytime sleepiness and other consequences of sleep dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, and narcolepsy. XW10508 is a glutamatergic NMDA antagonist and AMPA activator in development as an oral, once-daily therapy with potential abuse deterrent properties designed for the treatment of major depressive disorder and chronic pain.
| About WI Harper Group:
WI Harper is a pioneer and leading cross-border venture capital firm investing in early and expansion stage companies globally. With offices in San Francisco, Beijing, and Taipei, the firm actively oversees more than $1 billion in assets under management. Since inception nearly three decades ago, WI Harper has invested in over 400 startups and has successfully experienced more than 100 IPO and M&A exits.
We look for innovative companies and visionary founders in healthcare, technology and sustainability fields where there are high synergies and meaningful value added cross selling opportunities. While our healthcare team is presently honing on bioinformatics and digital biology, our technology team is focused blockchain, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, AR/VR, IoT, robotics, drones, autonomous driving, as well as digital media and green energy projects.