Brii Bio announced on 5/24/18 its launch with significant partnerships and financing. Brii Bio aims to accelerate the development and delivery of breakthrough medicines in China through partnerships, best-in-class research and development, and the application of digital and data insight.
Dr Zhi Hong, an infectious disease specialist from GSK is a co-founder and CEO of the venture. "The pace of innovation has accelerated over the past decade, resulting in dramatically better treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases, but the reach of those innovations in China has been limited," said Dr. Hong. "Delivering innovative medicines to Chinese patients constitutes not just a market opportunity but an opportunity to significantly improve public health. China needs faster, affordable access to new therapies, and has the public health infrastructure and advanced digital and data technologies to enable that at scale."
Brii, which stands for breakthrough innovation and insight, launches with three foundational and strategic partnerships that will accelerate infectious disease drug development and commercialization in China and leverage technology and data to drive improvements to the Chinese healthcare system and outcomes for patients. These include:
- A partnership with Vir, a leading U.S.-based biotech focused on infectious diseases, that grants Brii Bio options on exclusive greater China rights for up to four assets in Vir's portfolio. This therapeutic pipeline holds the potential to prevent, treat and cure a wide range of infectious diseases.
- A first-of-its-kind digital and data insight partnership with AliHealth, the healthcare arm of Alibaba Group to collaborate and explore disruptive approaches to optimize clinical and commercial development efforts by capturing value evidence and improving patients' experience with new therapies. This partnership will also explore ways to accelerate the uptake of new medicines and support appropriate use of new medicines.
In addition to the partnerships with AliHealth and Vir, Brii has entered into a memorandum of understanding with WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics for priority access to WuXi's research and development capabilities.
"WuXi's mission has always been to build a technology and capability platform to enable anyone and any company to discover, develop and manufacture healthcare products to benefit patients," said Dr. Ge Li, Chairman of WuXi AppTec Group. "I share Brii Bio's mission to improve public health in China, and many of the leadership team members had already delivered some of the biggest medicines in our industry. I look forward to supporting them."
Brii Bio's initial funding was led by ARCH Venture Partners, 6 Dimensions Capital, Boyu Capital, Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Blue Pool Capital.
The Brii Bio leadership team includes recognized industry leaders with a strong track record of discovering and developing novel medicines.
- Zhi Hong, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President, and CEO—previously served as Senior Vice President and Head of the Infectious Diseases Therapy Area Unit at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK);
- Li Yan, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer—previously served in senior roles at GSK and Merck;
- Lianhong Xu, Ph.D., SVP and Head of Medicinal Chemistry—co-invented several blockbuster antiviral therapies at Gilead Sciences;
- Jean-Luc Girardet, Ph.D., SVP and Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences—discovered and launched new gout drugs at Ardea Biosciences (AstraZeneca);
- Qing Zhu, Ph.D., VP and Head of Biopharmaceutical Research—brings a decade of biopharma experience at MedImmune to the new role;
- Lisa Beck, VP of Business Development—brings over 20 years of transactional experience and was most recently at Alexion Pharmaceuticals;
- James Klein, interim Chief Financial Officer—brings 20 years of experience as CFO of several biotech and pharma companies including Triangle Pharmaceuticals.