15 Nov 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
India has received substantial investments over the past few years not only in the form of funding from the government but also from private equity investors. While the government has invested more than $650 million in biosciences in India, the nation already received $268 million private equity investments this year.
Such significant amount of investments can be attributed to rising opportunities in healthcare, drug discovery, medical devices, and personalized medicine in the nation. BioSpectrum provides an insight into the latest developments that have taken place in the domain of life science funding in India.
IndoUS Venture Partners invests in Vyome Biosciences
IndoUS Venture Partners (IUVP), a venture capital firm which provides early and mid- stage funding to new or growing businesses in India, has invested $3.5 million (Rs18.5 crore) along with Aarin Capital and Navam Capital as co-investors in Vyome Biosciences, an innovation-driven dermatology company focused on developing novel and innovative treatments for common skin conditions such as dandruff, acne, pigmentation disorders and wound healing.
Dr Kumar Shiralagi, managing director, IUVP, said, "We are backing a top notch scientific team assembled in India that is leveraging leading edge platform technology to develop promising products to address the $20 billion global dermatology market."
Vyome, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company founded in August 2010 and based in New Delhi, had raised seed funding from Navam Capital. Vyome has assembled a world-class management and scientific team that collectively have a significant track record of conducting acclaimed scientific research, developing breakthrough products and building sustainable businesses. Vyome will deploy the new financing to advance the clinical development of its lead antidandruff products, and to accelerate the pre-clinical development of its anti-acne products.
ChrysCapital invests in Intas Pharmaceutical and Eris Lifesciences
ChrysCapital that manages $2.5 billion across six funds and aspires to be the leading investment firm in India has invested in two life sciences companies in India. While Eris Lifesciences is an Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical player with very strong focus on chronic therapy, IntasPharma is a formulations company with a diversified product portfolio focused on chronic segments such as gastro, cardiovascular and psychiatry.
Mr Sanjiv Kaul, managing director, ChrysCapital Advisors said, "The promoter of Eris Lifesciences, Mr Amit Bakshi, is a pharma veteran who has very inspiring. The company is light on manufacturing assets but very heavy on brand creation and promotion. ChrysCapital invested $43 million for a significant minority stake."
Mr Kaul said that Intas Pharmaceuticals is one of the top 10 pharmaceutical players in India growing at a CAGR of 30 percent over the last seven years since ChrysCapital made its first investment in late 2005.
Fidelity Growth Partners India invests in Laurus Labs and XCyton
Fidelity Growth Partners India (FGPI), the India-focused private equity arm of Fidelity Worldwide Investment, has invested in two bioscience firms in India recently. Laurus Labs is a company that develops and manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and XCyton is a diagnostics product company. Hyderabad-based Laurus, with a focus on anti-retroviral (HIV-AIDS), oncology and nutraceutical products, received $40 million (Rs200 crore).
Mr Raj Dugar, senior managing director at FIL Capital Advisors (India), the private equity advisory arm for FGPI, said, "We are very excited to partner with Dr Satyanarayana and his superb management team. In a short span of time, Laurus has established global leadership positions in its key product offerings and continues to drive innovation in its strong product pipeline of difficult-to-make molecules, which we believe will help it build a long-term defensible business."
XCyton Diagnostics received $4.5 million (Rs20 crore) from FGPI. "XCyton's SES technology platform has the potential to be truly disruptive to the current standard of care. We believe that the company's test service offerings can drive a paradigm shift in the diagnosis and treatment of critical care infections, not only in India but also overseas. We are excited to partner with Dr Ravi Kumar and his team in building one of the few innovation-driven life sciences companies in the country," added Mr Dugar.
IIF invests in Shantani Proteome
India Innovation Fund (IIF), formerly known as NASSCOM-ICICI Knowledge Park Innovation Fund, is a $25.3 million venture capital fund managed by IKP Investment Management. It invests between $0.12 million and $1.2 million in its portfolio companies from different sectors including bio sciences.
During this year, it has invested an undisclosed amount in Pune-based Shantani Proteome Analytics, along with Blume Ventures. Besides it has invested in Consure Medical, a firm incubated at AIIMS Delhi and has a medical device that addresses fecal incontinence. In all it has invested in three life sciences portfolios (the third one-Mitra Biotech) in the last two years.
Sharing his thoughts on investing in Shantani, Mr Ashwin Raguraman, vice president, India Innovation Funds said, "Shantani is a drug discovery technology company, offering a proprietary chemical proteomics technology platform for the identification of the targets of drugs and drug like bioactive molecules. This target information is essential for the understanding of action mechanisms of compounds identified through phenotypic screening."
"It is also valuable for drug repositioning purposes and for identifying off-target interactions of a drug to understand its toxicity profile. Shantani was incubated at National Chemical Laboratories' Venture Center, Pune, and is founded by a scientist Dr Chaitanya Saxena who achieved his PhD in the US and worked in global corporations such as Eli Lily," he added.