Staff Writer

HONG KONG – Accuron Medtech Group is partnering with Spring Seeds Capital to invest up to SGD20 million (US$15 million) in promising med-tech startups in Singapore, expanding an innovation investment initiative 10 times larger.

Accuron Medtech, which claims to be Southeast Asia's largest medical device company with annual sales of around $180 million from multiple medical device companies it has acquired, has been appointed to identify and catalyze the growth of high-potential Singapore based startups as part of a consortium. Accuron Medtech is part of the wider Accuron Technologies that is involved in the med tech, aerospace and industrial sectors.

Through its new partnership with Spring Seeds, Accuron will invest up to SGD10 million (US$7.5 million) in Singapore's health and biomedical sciences sector. The investments will then be matched by Spring Seeds, the investment arm of the city state's enterprise development agency Spring Singapore.

This is just one out of nine co-investment partners recently appointed by Spring Seeds under Startup SG Equity, a government initiative that aims to channel more than SGD200 million (US$150 million) of private sector investments into Singapore-based technology startups with strong intellectual property and global market potential.

"We believe in Asia's vibrancy as a hub for disruptive health care technologies to develop and thrive. Over the last three and a half years, Accuron Medtech has executed more than 10 strategic transactions to seed and grow highly innovative products and companies that can transform the way health care is delivered," Abel Ang, chief executive officer of Accuron Medtech, told BioWorld MedTech.

Under the partnership, he says Accuron will "be a mentor, and provide the network, resources and financial support to help technology entrepreneurs bring their innovations to a global market."

Since 2014, Accuron Medtech's strategic investments in highly innovative, category disruptive technology startups range from renal disease companies to an ophthalmic company that has the potential to "revolutionize health care and transform the paradigm of patient treatment."

As an example, Ang pointed to Accuron's investment in Advent Access, a renal startup that has developed an implantable device to preserve the vascular access for patients on hemodialysis. (See BioWorld MedTech Dec. 14, 2017.)

He believes that investment could drastically simplify how renal patients connect with hemodialysis machines, opening up many different hemodialysis delivery models for the SGD100 billion (US$75 billion) industry.

Another example is Awak Technologies, which has created a portable dialysis system that allows even end-stage renal disease patients to have their treatments on the go. The renal company was the seventh investment by Accuron since 2014. (See BioWorld MedTech Dec. 2, 2016.)

Ang explained that one of the major inconveniences in peritoneal dialysis is that patients have to be connected to a peritoneal dialysis device, making it difficult for them to travel and to go about their daily lives.

He claims that Awak's technology, which is currently in first in human trials, has the potential to change the SGD6.6 billion (US$5 billion) peritoneal dialysis market, and how peritoneal dialysis patients receive treatment.

"In addition, Accuron Medtech is invested in Veredus Labs, which is one of the most successful and innovative biotech companies to have come out of Singapore. Their innovative technologies disrupt how molecular testing is done in diagnostics and biosurveillance. Other group investments include companies in big data health care analytics as well as innovative medical device contract manufacturing among others," said Ang.

Ang added that they aim to discover "the first local-to-global success story, and put Singapore on the world map as a health care innovation hub" through this startup nurturing initiative.

Besides health and biomedical sciences, the other areas that the Startup SG Equity initiative will be focused on are "advanced manufacturing and engineering" and "urban solutions and sustainability." These deep tech sectors are aligned with the core domains of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, Singapore's roadmap for research and development.

Spring Seeds' nine appointed partners under this initiative are Armstrong Industrial Corp., Healthxcapital, Heritas Capital Management, Incuvest-Avior, Medtech Alliance 2 (MTA2), Millennia-VFT Ventures, Silicon Solution Partners, Small World Accelerator and Trendlines Medical-K2 Global.

Accuron Medtech's investment will be made through MTA 2, a consortium consisting of Economic Development Innovations Singapore, Accuron Medtech and Lu Yoh-Chie, the founder of Biosensors.

Established in 2018, the MTA2 is a Singapore accelerator investing in technology startups. It is based on Medtech Alliance, which was has done four investments in med-tech startups since forming in 2014.

"Investors, accelerators, and incubators play a key role in catalyzing innovative deep tech startups," said Ted Tan, chairman of Spring Seeds Capital and deputy chief executive of Spring Singapore.

Tan added that they will be working with the newly appointed co-investment partners to identify high-potential startups, assist them in developing their capabilities, and fast-track their entry into the global market."

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