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Govt launches $40m fund to groom medical tech start-ups

THE Government is launching a $40 million fund to encourage more medical technology (medtech) start-ups.

The launch is part of the Government's research, innovation and enterprise 2015 plan which aims to develop, identify, invest and grow start-ups in strategic but nascent sectors.

Biomedical sciences is a key sector of the Singapore economy, contributing 10 per cent of total manufacturing output here. It employs more than 13,000 people.

The capital intensive nature of the sector makes it difficult for start-ups to succeed.

Spring Singapore hopes that with this latest programme, more innovative start-ups will be created and any intellectual property will be better commercialised.

The fund will be managed by Spring Seeds Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spring Singapore, under a new Biomedical Sciences Accelerator (BSA) programme. Initially, the BSA programme will focus on grooming start-ups in the medical technology sub-sector, leveraging on Singapore's strength in integrating physical and medical sciences.

Spring's first step is to select two BSA operators for the programme. The operators will then identify, evaluate, finance and manage high-potential medical technology start-ups. Spring Seeds Capital will co-invest in the start-ups on a one-for-one basis. Operators should have:

  • An experienced management team with a track record in successfully incubating medical technology start-ups from an early seed stage, through first-round and follow-on financing;

  • Hands-on approach in actively participating in the medical technology start-ups' day-to-day operations; and

  • Ability to facilitate access to:
  • Investment capital
  • Markets
  • Infrastructure/facilities
  • World-class scientific and technical expertise/advisers
  • Knowledge and familiarity of regulatory compliance
  • Back-office support.

    Spring Singapore's deputy chief executive Tan Kai Hoe, who also chairs Spring Seeds Capital, said: 'Singapore is developing biomedical sciences as it is an important sector in the economy.'

    He added that the BSA programme will support this by encouraging more early-stage investors to nurture viable start-ups and help them bring innovative ideas and technologies to the market.

    Mr Tan said: 'Over time, we hope to build a pool of domain experts who can harness the commercial potential of not only the medtech start-ups but also those in the rest of the biomedical sciences sector.'

    Parties interested in becoming BSA operators can attend a briefing on June 13. The invitation for proposals is now open and will close on July 29. For more details, visit www.spring.gov.sg/bsa

    BUILD POOL OF EXPERTS

    'Over time, we hope to build a pool of domain experts who can harness the commercial potential of not only the medtech start-ups but also those in the rest of the biomedical sciences sector.'

    Spring Singapore's deputy chief executive Tan Kai Hoe

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