Philippines: Healthcare firm Philab invests $9.6m in US-based Veritas Genetics

Source: Philab Holdings Corp

Philippine-listed healthcare holding firm Philab Holdings Corp seeks to break into the global genetics market with its Php500-million ($9.6 million) investment in US-based Veritas Genetics.

In a statement, Philab revealed that the initial investment would be used to develop a genome sequencing facility for Asia, possibly in Clark, Pampanga, north of the Philippines.

The investment will also support the holding firm’s plan to expand its operations worldwide starting from the Asia-Pacific region.

Philab chair and CEO Tom Navasero said his company may consider additional investments if and when Veritas requires capital.

Veritas Genetics uses whole genome sequencing to help people assess risks related to inherited diseases, drug sensitivities, traits as well as ancestry.

“Genetics has come a long way and now we are utilizing the power of genomics in disease prevention and individualized treatment. Ultimately, our goal is to let individuals have knowledge about their genetic make-up, then they will know how to control and better manage their lifestyle choices,” Navasero said in a statement.

Mirza Cifric, co-founder and chief executive officer of Veritas Genetics, said the strategic collaboration would enable the company to further develop and launch its genome sequencing services, as well as expand its footprint in Asia.

“We are excited to embark on this partnership with Philab and integrate our technology to offer our services in the Asia-Pacific. Whole genome sequencing and interpretation will soon be accessible to everyone,” Cifric said.

Philab is the Philippines’ only listed company focused on medical technology. It is traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DNA.

Veritas, co-founded in 2014 by George Church and leading scientists from the Personal Genome Project at Harvard Medical School, was the first to offer consumers whole genome sequencing and interpretation for under $1,000. It secured $42 million in funding through Series A and B rounds.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.