Chinese Rare Disease-Focused Biotech Startup Citrine Medicine Raises US$80M Series A

Citrine Medicine aims to develop an ecosystem for rare disease patients in China

Citrine Medicine, a Chinese rare disease-focused therapeutics startup founded by Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, and Vivo Capital, has raised $80 million in a Series A funding round, according to a press release on Monday.

The latest financing round was led by Quan Capital, a medical and healthcare-focused venture capital firm, while new investors 3H Health Investment and WU Capital also participated in the round along with the three founding backers.

The startup, which imports rare disease medicines to China, aims to deliver these drugs to the Chinese market and develop the first ever rare disease ecosystem in the country, with the prospect of helping tens of millions of patients, according to the press release.

With 20 million people suffering from rare diseases in Mainland China, and none eligible for free treatment, the market holds untapped potential for Citrine as the current treatment options are unaffordable for the majority of patients in need. Moreover, these diseases are often difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, and difficult to guarantee recovery, according to the press report.

Since its inception in 2019, Citrine has assembled a best-in-class team of veterans with decades of work experience in rare diseases and the healthcare market in China, according to the press report.

Rebecca Lin, Partner of Eight Roads and a director of Citrine’s Board, said, “Citrine is dedicated to bringing in safe and effective medications to patients in China suffering from rare diseases. Our aspiration is to build an ecosystem of support for the patients, working together with various stakeholders to fundamentally remove the accessibility and affordability obstacles.”

Recent reforms in regulation and policy in China have expedited the drug approval process for rare disease drugs. These new regulations allow rare-disease drugs, also called orphan drugs, to be submitted for approval in China with only overseas clinical trial data.

According to the statement, Citrine will focus on validated or approved medications, while at the same time helping products speed up their development processes globally.

“Citrine is a unique platform which can leverage the resources of all investors and benefits from the synergy of this extensive network, including Eight Roads’ global resources and connections. We believe Citrine is well-positioned to build something meaningful for the rare disease community,” Lin added.

F-Prime’s Principal, Dr. Chong Xu said, “F-Prime Capital is a strong believer and long-time investor in companies developing drugs for orphan disease patients in need. We helped found Citrine because we were excited about the potential for the company to significantly improve the lives of patients and families in China affected by rare diseases.”

Dr. Wu Hui, Managing Director of Quan Capital, said, “We look forward to providing strong support for Citrine’s capabilities and pipelines in terms of talent recruitment, local operating resources, and overseas product cooperation. With the strong support of investors, we are confident that Citrine will become a leader in this field and accelerate the development of innovative rare disease drugs in China and globally.”

Header image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

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