Singapore: Trendlines-Braun to operate medtech incubator targeting APAC

Visual from Trendlines website

Trendlines Medical Singapore, a specialised medical technology (medtech) incubator, has been growing its presence in Singapore.

It has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with healthcare supplier B. Braun Melsungen, the co-founder of Trendlines Medical Singapore, who will jointly invest in the incubator and appoint members to the board of directors and investment committee. B. Braun will also give advice on market needs, and technical and commercial matters.

The firm, which will incubate early-stage healthcare ventures from across the region, has reportedly interacted with eight medtech ventures in Singapore to date. It’s formal launch and the investment by Braun AG comes as German medical firm Biotronik expands its production footprint in the city-state.

Established by Catalist-listed Israeli medical and agricultural investor Trendlines Group, it was incorporated in July 2016 in the city-state, which is being promoted as a medical technology hub with access to the Indo-Asia Pacific (i.e. the various market ecosystems within the geographic basins of the Indian and Pacific Oceans). The medtech sector is expected to grow from $88 billion in 2015 to $133 billion by 2020 in the Asia Pacific.

Reportedly, the health and biomedical sciences sector in Singapore has been allocated a budget of S$4 billion over the next five years to drive the development of medtech products in the city-state.

In an interaction with the press, the CEO of Trendlines Medical in Singapore, Eric Loh, shared: “Our model is to be an intensive investor who is hands-on with each of the start-ups we invest in. We pride ourselves in being able to work closely with the entrepreneurs, bringing them through the whole process from idea creation, and then the various aspects of business development, regulatory strategies and more.”

According to Loh, the incubator has applied for a 5000 sq ft space at start-up cluster JTC Launchpad @ one-north in Ayer Rajah, with the aim of operating with a team of four to six people as well as identifying and incubating three to four firms within the next 12 months.

Trendlines Medical

In a statement to DEALSTREETASIA, Loh elaborated: “Trendlines Medical Singapore will focus on nurturing and developing start-up companies involved in medical devices and medical technology, with the aim of working intensively with the entrepreneurs leading the companies towards successful commercialisation path ways.”

Loh shared in an official statement: “Three new blocks are being built and we’ll be probably be taking most of the second floor of Block 77. This (area) is going to be the hub for all the start-ups, and we’re happy to be within the ecosystem.

“Our model is to be an intensive investor who is hands-on with each of the start-ups we invest in. We pride ourselves in being able to work closely with the entrepreneurs, bringing them through the whole process from idea creation, and then the various aspects of business development, regulatory strategies and more,” Loh added.

Since their initial public offer (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the Israeli-headquartered Trendlines Group firm has renewed its medical license, with its incubator licence was extended for another 8 years by the Office of the Chief Scientist of israel and effectively renewed its agricultural technology (Agtech) license, through the expansion of the scope of investment under the meditech licence)

In addition, Trendlines has received a $10 million investment commitment from Bayer Crop Science – in the form of an agtech co-investment platform – and has deepened its corporate relationship with B. Braun, as evidenced by their commitment to invest in Singapore incubator. Trendlines has also started six new companies in last 10 months, with more on the way.

Singapore challenges

Speaking on the challenges of developing and growing medtech ventures based in Singapore, Loh elaborated to DEALSTREETASIA: “Medical ventures are unique in that the pathway towards success involves the experience in relating to product regulatory strategies as well as clinical studies associated with the product development.”

Adding that he was confident of the universities and institutions in Singapore generating strong IP-related technology, in addition to facilitating the development of skilled engineers and product developers with strong knowledge in technology development, he also explained to DEALSTREETASIA that medical and healthcare robotics were among the areas the company was exploring – synchronising with a government push to make the city-state a technology hub.

He continued, “Trendlines Medical Singapore is confident to value-add by focusing Trendlines’ strength, in providing support in business development, and developing regulatory and clinical trial strategies, and executing follow-on investment opportunities for our start-up companies.”

“We see that these are unique areas necessary to support the eventual success of medtech ventures and through Trendlines Medical Singapore, we want to transfer the successful formula that we have employed at the Trendlines Group for the past 10 years to render greater success for the medtech eco-system in Singapore, Loh added.

In response to queries regarding how the world’s first 3d printed drug has been approved and the implications for 3d printing drugs, given Singapore’s position as the one of the larger biotech cluster in the Asia Pacific, Loh stated: “There is always the excitement in new fields and 3D printing technology is certainly one such area. There are huge opportunities that 3D printing can bring to the industry, medical and beyond.”

“However, as in all medical and biotech related fields, a lot depends on regulatory issues surrounding the new development and if the strict regime of regulatory hurdles are well observed, new technologies, including 3D printing will always deserve a place in the medtech/biotech eco-system.”

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