Temasek-backed Accuron Medtech divests Veredus Labs to Japan's Sekisui Medical

Veredus Laboratories was started by Rosemary Tan in 2003, to commercialise locally developed technologies that make sense of the human genetic make-up. PHOTO: VEREDUS LABORATORIES

SINGAPORE - Sekisui Chemical, a diagnostics company based in Japan, is acquiring home-grown Veredus Laboratories, a molecular diagnostics kit maker, in one of the largest exits in the local medtech space.

Veredus Laboratories was started by Dr Rosemary Tan in 2003, to commercialise locally developed technologies that make sense of the human genetic make-up. Dr Tan has a PhD in molecular immunology.

The size of the deal was not disclosed, but market sources said that Veredus could be worth around US$83 million, which is the amount that Luminex paid for molecular diagnostics firm Nanosphere in 2016.

The Veredus sale also marks the second exit for Accuron MedTech, the medical device maker and medtech investor backed by Temasek Holdings. Accuron has invested in 10 companies in the last three years, including Taipei-listed ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, which is developing cancer drugs.

Accuron acquired a controlling stake in Veredus in 2014.

Under Accuron MedTech's ownership, Veredus has grown its revenues by 30 per cent and doubled its research and development (R&D) headcount.

The company also moved its global bio-chip manufacturing facility from Italy to Singapore and expanded into large new markets including Indonesia and China.

Today, Veredus spends about 25 per cent of its revenue on R&D. Its revenues are in the "double-digit million-dollar range", said Abel Ang, group chief executive of Accuron MedTech.

Dr Tan told The Business Times: "We are very excited moving forward to work together with a global player to move to the next level. We have the technology, but we are very small, with about 45 employees in Singapore. Sekisui is very big and is looking for new areas to grow.

"We want to be a global player and the only way to do that is to align our interests with a big global player so that we can move together. It has been a great journey for me, I will continue to be the CEO and director of Veredus, and continue to chart its growth."

Mr Ang told BT: "The fact that Rosemary is able to exit in this fashion is a win. Today in deep tech, we don't have these icons of people who exited. These are not companies that you start today and tomorrow you flip them. This is not a Grab story.

"The fact that she is exiting well will allow her to be an icon for the waves of (deep tech) entrepreneurs that are going to come after her," he said.

Goichi Tsuchihashi, director and managing executive officer for Sekisui Medical's diagnostics business unit, said: "The acquisition of Veredus is an important step in realising our mid-term business plan, a focus of which is to enter into new, important markets in Asia which have high growth potential in the diagnostics industry."

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