Hong Kong's Aptorum Group Partners With Singapore's Tech Agency In New Venture Fund

Healthcare Venture Fund
An employee works with stem cells at a laboratory (Photo: Reuters)

A new venture fund to invest in up-and-coming health care startups in Singapore has now been launched. The fund is a cooperative effort by Singapore's technology agency and the NASDAQ-listed Hong Kong pharmaceutical company Aptorum Group. Both firms will reportedly be raising around US$90 million, which will be used to invest in promising companies in the health care sector.

Aptorum Group, which owns subsidiaries such as Aptus Management Limited, Aptorum Therapeutics Limited, and Aptorum Medical Limited, will also be partnering with Aeneas Capital for the venture fund. The firms are all controlled by investment bank co-founder Ian Huen Chung-yuen, who was present at the signing of the agreement.

Also present at the establishment of the new fund was the commercialization arm of the Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology, and Research, A*ccelerate. The firm is tasked by the tech agency to commercialize properties and ideas into marketable products. Through the fund, Aptorum would be able to expand beyond Hong Kong to develop the companies it will be investing in. It would also allow the company to regionally leverage financial and technology development resources.

According to Aptorum's founder and CEO, the fund would allow his company to conduct trails outside of Hong Kong, which is very limited due to its relatively small population. Its partnership with Singapore should allow the company to access expertise and technologies it otherwise wouldn't have access to.

The details of the fund, including how much each party had contributed towards the US$90 million budget, were not elaborated. However, it was revealed that the fund will be invested in up to 20 startup companies during its run. Some of the companies that will be receiving funding include firms working on 2D and 3D magnetic resonance imaging and those in the field of surgical robotics.

Since it was established in 2017, Aptorum has been able to obtain rights to develop various medical technologies and medications in Hong Kong. It currently has licensing agreements with a number of academic institutions, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Some of the drugs under development include medications for influenza, endometriosis, and MRSA.

The company is currently in the process of starting its phase-one clinical trials for three drug candidates, with each one costing around US$5 million. The firm has so far raised more than US$12 million in NASDAQ, but it still plans to raise additional funds in future offers.

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