Nova Satra Dx Pte. Ltd. (Nova Satra), a Singapore-based molecular diagnostics startup, has secured $2 million (S$2.8 million) in funding from Genting Bio Cellular Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Berhad.
In conjunction with the funding, two directors nominated by Genting have joined Nova Satra’s board.
As part of the funding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Bio Cellular has also acquired exclusive rights to Malaysian distribution of the tests Nova Satra is developing.
Nova Satra intends to make available a pipeline of molecular diagnostics tests across a range of cancer indications.
According to the company, utilising an epigenetic platform technology developed at the University of Oxford, the Nova Satra test relies on highly stable DNA-based targets as part of chromosomal signatures.
The company intends to use the funds for regulatory approvals and commercialization of its lead test, a non-invasive blood-based diagnostic test for breast cancer.
This form of cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is the leading form of cancer among women across Asia. In 2012, with over 400,000 cases per year being diagnosed out of a total of 1.7 million globally.
Breast cancer diagnostics relies on highly stable DNA-based targets as part of chromosomal signatures (AKA gene loops, chromosome domains, long-range chromosomal interactions), rather than other molecular diagnostic tests that rely upon unstable protein/RNA molecules.
The company believes a patient-friendly option, easily included in routine check-ups, could increase, the often currently low, breast cancer screening participation rates of women across the Asian region.
Kane Black, CEO and co-founder of Nova Satra, commented: “We are pleased to announce the commitment and support of one of Asia’s pre-eminent conglomerates, with extensive investments in the life sciences space.
“This not only brings to Nova Satra capital resources but also substantial operational support to our research, development and commercialisation program to bring to market revolutionary and potentially life-saving non-invasive blood-based diagnostic tests for cancer,” he adds.