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Mabwell, a Model Case of China’s Booming Biopharma Start-ups

SHANGHAI–()–“In China, the biopharma industry has been entering a period of incredibly rapid development,” says Dr. PC Zhu, Founder and CEO of ATLATL, the leading Innovation Center in Shanghai. “Scores of companies with rich pipelines and robust capabilities have listed or filed listing applications in the past few years, and the portfolio companies at our campus have raised tremendous funds, just like my previous incubator in Boston.” Mabwell, a typical case of such a start-up company, has raised $279 million (RMB ¥1.97 billion) from a series of investors, ranking in the Top 5 Venture Raises of 2020, and is currently preparing for listing on SSE STAR market.

Mabwell is representative of the success of Chinese biopharma start-ups, ranking 5th on the list of the Top 10 money raisers of 2020 around the world, as ranked by Fiercebiotech (released in Mar. 2021) and 2nd in the list of the Top 20 Venture Raises of 2020 in ex-US regions, as listed in LavoieHealthScience (released in Oct. 2020). Founded in 2017, Mabwell focuses on the discovery, development, manufacture, and commercialization of innovative biologics and has set-up 9 subsidiaries to accelerate the industrialization process. Currently, Mabwell has a pipeline of 15 biologics in the areas of immunology, oncology, metabolic diseases, ophthalmology, and infectious diseases, and 8 products in the clinical stage are expected to be commercialized by 2023-2026. The first product, Adalimumab biosimilar, is expected to be marketed in 2021. Earlier this year, Mabwell obtained the IND acceptance for an anti-ST2 monoclonal antibody, making it the first Chinese company to apply this target IND submission and receive acceptance.

For venture capital, pipeline and capability may be the most immediate concerns. A high value pipeline means a promising future and generous returns. In addition, a company with comprehensive capabilities guarantees smooth sailing in every process, especially clinical development, which is significant in the fierce, competitive field of drug development. With expansion of the local market and investment, and growing support from the Chinese government, an increasing number of biopharma start-ups in China are expected to raise more money to strengthen pipelines and improve capabilities. With this trend, it is easily foreseeable that Chinese biopharma companies will be even more competitive in the global market in the next decade.


Mabwell, a values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical company with more than 10 biologics pipelines focuses its efforts on five therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, metabolic diseases, ophthalmology, and infectious diseases. Mabwell has built a world-class, state-of-the-art R&D engine that includes a high-throughput screening platform for new molecular discovery of hybridoma antibodies, B cell screening platform, ADC drug development platform, PEGylation technology platform, and bispecific antibody development platform. We have a thriving team of biopharmaceutical scientists across drug discovery, development, manufacture, and commercialization. Mabwell raised 1.97 billion RMB in series A in 2020. Its first drug is to be launched in 2021, and more promising products will be delivered in the next few years.


“Atlatl” is a Nahuatl word that means “spear thrower”, which enabled ancient hunters to throw farther and faster, eventually generating greater returns. ATLATL is innovation’s spear thrower — to facilitate innovators’ growth and enhance their ability to reach milestones more quickly than ever. We are a thriving research ecosystem consisting of our growing clients and partners, aiming to streamline research and development so that innovation can be simple and straight-forward. ATLATL aims to provide ready-to-use state-of-the-art laboratory space and platform, instruments, and turnkey solutions in operations and management, CRO services, and remote Cloudlabs services and resources, for R&D teams to plug-in and use.

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