BioLineRx (BLRX), I-Bridge Capital Form New JV in China

August 25, 2016 7:02 AM EDT

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BioLineRx Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX) announced that it has established a joint venture (JV) with I-Bridge Capital, a Chinese venture capital fund focused on developing innovative therapies in China. The joint venture, named iPharma, will develop innovative clinical and pre-clinical therapeutic candidates originating primarily in Israel to serve the Chinese and global healthcare markets.

Under the terms of the JV agreement, each partner will provide seed capital of one million dollars to the venture. BioLineRx will screen and identify promising early-stage drug candidates originating primarily in Israel with emphasis on therapeutic indications that are of special interest for the Chinese population. These therapeutic candidates will then be in-licensed by iPharma for further development and commercialization in China and possibly in other countries as well. After a critical mass of in-licensed projects is reached, iPharma intends to raise additional funds from Chinese investors to accelerate further development activities. Each partner is protected from dilution for a five-year period and the first project is expected to join iPharma's pipeline within the next few months.

"We are very pleased to enter into this joint venture with I-Bridge because it offers us direct access to the large, fast growing and highly important Chinese market, with limited financial risk," said Philip A. Serlin, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of BioLineRx. "iPharma combines our strong track record of selecting promising, innovative therapeutic programs emerging from Israel's leading research institutions and startups, with I-Bridge's deep understanding of the Chinese market, extensive commercialization experience and a network of long-standing relationships with Chinese investors, pharmaceutical companies and relevant government entities. We look forward to working together to deliver promising therapeutic assets to improve the care and health of patients in China and beyond."

"The market in China is large and fast-growing, but it lacks innovative therapeutic assets and capabilities which address the increasing demands of our rapidly aging population," stated Dr. Jimmy Wei, Managing Partner, I-Bridge Capital. "BioLineRx, with its well established relationships with leading academic institutions and biomedical companies in Israel, as well as its proven project screening process, is an ideal long-term partner for us. We passionately share the same goal: to develop the best products and technologies so that we can effectively target the greatest unmet medical needs, including treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and respiratory conditions."

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