Vietnam’s genetic testing firm Gene Solutions ropes in KPMG to raise $20m

Vietnam-based genetic testing firm Gene Solutions is in talks to raise $20 million in a new funding round, and has roped in KPMG Vietnam as its deal advisor, according to a top executive of the firm.

If talks fructify, it could mark the first private equity-backed investment in the Vietnamese genetics industry, according to DealStreetAsia’s data.

Gene Solutions bagged a seven-digit US dollar financing from a slew of undisclosed institutional investors in late 2019, its co-founder Nguyen Hoai Nghia told DealStreetAsia.

“Vietnam represents a great opportunity for genetic testing, but it has been costly for local consumers as they have had to depend on overseas technologies. We aim to provide comprehensive genetic solutions at much lower costs,” he added.

Founded in January 2017, Gene Solutions runs a few labs wherein it develops cell-free DNA-based technology and solutions in-house. To date, the company claims to have performed over 100,000 genetic tests and has gathered a mutation database of 17 inherited diseases and cancer, along with over 70,000 shallow whole genome data.

While its offerings have primarily been genetic tests in disease diagnostics, cancer targeted therapy and reproductive health, the company hopes to use the new funding to expand its reach to customers.

A significant part of the funding will be used to explore entry into other Southeast Asian markets that face similar structural issues as Vietnam, Nghia added.

Genetic testing providers in Vietnam are mainly distributors of overseas technologies, with some only offering DNA testing for family reunification, such as Genotech and Gentis.

“There is a lot of room for us to grow, considering Vietnam’s sizeable market of about 40 million people with an average income of $500 per month who are willing to pay for our services,” Nghia said.

While conventional prices for this type of genetic tests are in the range of $1,000-1,200, the company claims to offer them at about $100-150.

Gene Solutions claims it has brought down the costs of genetic testing in Vietnam up to 10 times compared to four years ago.

Nghia said the firm has witnessed strong revenue growth since its first commercial launch, from $1 million in 2018 to $4.5 million in 2019. He estimated 2020 revenue at $9-10 million.

Funding in genetic companies

Expand Table

CompanyCountryRoundSizeInvestors
Cipher GeneChinaPre-Series AUndisclosedCS Capital, Shanghai Sova Investment, Everest Venture Capital.
Korro BioUnited KingdomSeries A$91.5MWu Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, Atlas Ventures, others.
MGI TechChinaSeries B$1BIDG Capital, CPE, New Economy Fund, Huatai Investment, TI-Capital, others.
Singlera GenomicsChinaSeries B$152.6MCICC Capital, DT Capital Partners, Fu Rong Investment, others.
EdiGeneChinaSeries B$67M3H Health, Sequoia Capital China, Alwin Capital, others.
MedGenomeIndiaSeries D$55MLeapFrog Investments, Sequoia Capital, others.
SOPHiA GENETICSSwitzerlandSeries F$110MaMoon, Hitachi Ventures, Credit Suisse, The Pictet Group, others.

Genetic testing in Asia has seen most of the deal flow into more advanced markets such as China, Japan, South Korea and India. Last year, businesses that raised capital include Cipher Gene, Singlera Genomics and EdiGene Inc in China, and MedGenome in India, among others. Closer home, Singapore-based Gero and Nalagenetics are amongst startups that have received private investments.

Asia Pacific genetic testing market will exhibit a 15% CAGR until 2026, spurred by the region’s rising disposable income, according to a recent research by GMInsights. In 2019, the region’s market value stood at $1.6 billion.

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).

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

  • 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. 
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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).

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

  • 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.