Arrowhead Pharma Teams With Silicon Valley VC Vivo on New China Venture

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Arrowhead Pharma Teams With Silicon Valley VC Vivo on New China Venture

Pasadena-based Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals has landed a $60 million investment from Silicon Valley health care venture firm Vivo Capital to launch a new joint venture tapping into one of the fastest-growing markets for drugs: China.

On Monday, the local pharma firm announced that it is partnering with Vivo to form Visirna Therapeutics, a new venture that aims to develop and sell four of Arrowhead’s early-stage treatments in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Arrowhead’s therapies utilize RNA interference—a new way to manipulate genes in cells that has largely been used to treat cardiometabolic diseases like hypertension, hyperlipidemia and type 2 diabetes.


Vivo—which has also backed health care startups like cancer-focused Genetron and surgical instrument company Golden Stapler—said it will leverage its network in China to recruit for leadership roles, parse through the country’s regulatory policies and develop commercialization strategies for the region.

“Greater China is an important region for global pharmaceutical products broadly, and specifically for medicines that treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,” Christopher Anzalone, Arrowhead’s president and CEO, said in a statement. He added that having a dedicated company in China that is entrenched in the country’s regulatory environment will allow Arrowhead to develop and commercialize drugs in the region faster, without taking away from its core business strategies.

Venture capital activity at large in China totaled $113.8 billion in 2021, according to PitchBook data—the second-highest annual figure on record, eclipsed only by the $126.5 billion invested in 2018. Nearly 19% of venture deals in China last year involved investors from outside the country, while dollars invested in China’s biotech and pharma sector soared nearly 44% from the year prior, according to Pitchbook.

American pharma companies like Merck and Eli Lilly have flocked to China as the country has looked to grow its health care sector to meet the rising demands of its aging population.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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