Amid a pandemic-induced funding drought, private equity and venture capital firm Heritas Capital has stumped up extra funding for one of its deep tech startups.
Singapore-based biotech startup Hummingbird Bioscience is understood to have secured additional funds in an extended Series B round, DealStreetAsia has learnt from two people close to the deal.
The funding from Heritas, as well as new investors, follows the close of the Series B round at the end of last year, at $19 million.
The proceeds of the fundraising will go into human clinical trials for two of the cancer antibodies that Hummingbird Bioscience is developing – a significant milestone for the company. Termed as Phase 1 in the process of drug development, the clinical trials are expected to start later this year, and take 12 to 18 months.
Based in Singapore, Hummingbird Bioscience uses systems biology to develop a rational antibody discovery platform that is able to accurately identify key targets within the diseased cells, engineer molecules to hit those targets and effectively prevent the cell proteins from replicating. The antibodies – anti-VISTA and anti-HER3 – have been demonstrated to have dramatically reduced the size of tumour samples in lab tests.
Additionally, Hummingbird Bioscience’s platform has been developed through an effective cross-disciplinary effort of the startup’s team, using data and computational modelling.
Hummingbird Bioscience CEO Piers Ingram is trained in systems biology and mathematics while chief scientific officer Jerome Boyd-Kirkup is a molecular systems biologist.
Singapore-based Heritas Capital has been invested in Hummingbird Bioscience since the startup’s pre-Series A round. Heritas also led an extended Series A round in the startup in the middle of last year and participated again in both the Series B tranches.
The investment is made through Heritas Venture Fund, which has been deployed into several seed to Series B deep tech investments in the last three years. In the portfolio are Bangalore-based diagnostics company Strand Life Sciences, and digital health and analytics firm Holmusk, among others.
Heritas CEO Chik Wai Chiew told DealStreetAsia that the fund is expected to make another three to five more investments within the year. “We see interesting deal flows especially on health tech.”
Chik noted that while much attention in the biotech and medical industry has been on developing treatment and antibodies for Covid-19, the structural trend of health tech that is applicable across diseases, remains.
He added: “Deep tech companies with strong potential and traction will continue to draw interest.”