East Ventures leads $1m pre-seed funding for biotech firm Nalagenetics

Genetic testing company Nalagenetics has announced the closing of a $1-million pre-seed funding round led by early-stage investor East Ventures.

Other investors in the round include Indonesia’s Intudo Ventures and a number of strategic angel investors, according to an official press release.

Singapore-based Nalagenetics is a biotech company dedicated to reducing adverse drug reactions and increase prescription efficacy through genetic testing for local Asian populations in Singapore, Indonesia and beyond.

The company said the fresh capital will be used to complete proof-of-value projects in partnership with leading hospitals and providers in Singapore and Indonesia and to recruit new talent for the team.

Founded by scientists Dr Jianjun Liu, Dr Astrid Irwanto, Dr Alexander Lezhava, and Levana Sani, Nalagenetics aims to develop genetic tests that are easier to understand, more affordable and localized for Asian physicians and patients by studying how certain DNA characteristics affect drug responses.

The company believes that knowing a person’s genetic makeup can save patients from unwanted, sometimes deadly, adverse side effects, which in the US is estimated to waste about $30 billion of the country’s healthcare resources.

“The first meeting with the team left me a very deep impression. What Nalagenetics is solving will do good for Asian populations. We are really passionate to assist them to make sure their cost-effective solutions are accessible to a wider audience. This is a kind of startup that commercial gain is irrelevant because the impact of their product is enormous,” said East Ventures co-founder and managing partner Willson Cuaca.

After being established in 2016 for a leprosy project, Nalagenetics has been incubated in Harvard’s Venture Incubation Program and obtained support to develop and validate its genetic tests at Genome Institute of Singapore through Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL).

The investment in Nalagenetics follows the recent funding of another Singapore-based biotech firm RWDC Industries, which raised $12 million in a round anchored by Vickers Venture Partners and WI Harper Group.

For East Ventures, which counts Tokopedia, Traveloka and MokaPOS as portfolio companies, Nalagenetics marks its first investment in a biotech company. The VC firm has previously placed a bet in the healthcare space by backing Indonesian startup Konsula.

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SG biotech firm RWDC raises $13m round co-led by Vickers, WI Harper

Indonesia: Intudo Ventures raises $20m for debut fund, doubling initial target