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Life sciences company ClavystBio launches with aim to 'accelerate' industry in Singapore

Bryan Wu
Bryan Wu9/15/2022 10:15 AM GMT+08  • 4 min read
Life sciences company ClavystBio launches with aim to 'accelerate' industry in Singapore
Engine Biosciences, one of ClavystBio's portfolio companies, develops precision medicine-based therapies for cancer and other diseases. Photo: Engine Biosciences
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ClavystBio, a life sciences company established by CLA Real Estate Holdings, has announced its launch to accelerate the commercialisation of life sciences discoveries and innovation from Singapore.

To date, ClavystBio has committed US$220 million ($309.1 million) to six early-stage companies and three venture partners, in investments to launch Singapore-based global life sciences companies — accelerating life sciences commercialisation in Singapore.

According to the newly-launched company, the life sciences sector, which has been accelerated by the heightened global focus on health security since the onset of Covid-19, is set to be a key driver of Singapore’s future economy.

The life sciences sector already employs 25,000 workers and contributes to about a fifth of Singapore’s manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) today, while the biopharmaceutical market is projected to reach US$65 billion globally by 2026.

ClavystBio will build on the momentum of Singapore’s “deep commitment” to public research and training, which has resulted in a rich source of technologies and scientific talent, by supporting early-stage companies — starting with the emerging areas of cell and gene therapy, biomarkers and digital health.

The company believes that “prevailing megatrends”, such as the emerging global middle class, rapidly ageing population and rising chronic disease burden, will drive increased biomedical spending in the next decade.

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Among ClavystBio’s six portfolio Singapore-based companies are CoV Biotechnology, which develops booster vaccines and therapeutics that are effective against variants of coronaviruses, and Sunbird Bio, a developer of next-generation diagnostic platforms to provide faster and more accurate outcomes in molecular diagnostics across a wide range of diseases including infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

Its venture partners are Accelerator Life Science Partners (ALSP), Lightstone Ventures and Polaris Partners, investment firms with a focus on early-stage life science acceleration to build biotech companies and accelerate the commercial and therapeutic potential of disruptive healthcare and technology companies across the innovation cycle.

The company is led by Dr Christopher Laing, who is transitioning from his role as vice dean for innovation and entrepreneurship at Duke-NUS Medical School. “Ecosystem-building emphasises connectivity and access to talent and resources, which makes Singapore an attractive place for life sciences companies to start and grow,” he says.

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“Our unique model brings funding, partnerships and an optimal physical environment to life sciences companies, so that they can accelerate their pathway to commercialisation and help benefit end-users or patients more quickly,” Laing adds.

To help companies address the lengthy and complex challenges involved in bringing novel solutions to market, ClavystBio has introduced an “integrated and synergistic” three-pillared approach.

First, through “collaborate”, it aims to create programmes with private and public partners to develop industry and market expertise, drive intellectual property translation and ensure commercial success.

Under its “venture” pillar, ClavstBio will champion early-stage companies and catalyse new start-ups by providing investment and working with them to secure leadership talent, access resources, and connect with strategic partners and follow-on investors.

Finally, in the life sciences company’s “build” stage, it will develop a purpose-built innovation district with collaborative life sciences infrastructure and specialised facilities, together with a vibrant community of academic, investor, start-up, industry, and professional partners supporting all stages of company growth.

ClavystBio’s board, comprising individuals with collective expertise spanning the sectors of life sciences, real estate, investment and entrepreneurship, is chaired by Dr Fidah Alsagoff, joint head of the Enterprise Development Group (Singapore) and head of life sciences at Temasek. He believes that ClavystBio is well-positioned to fulfil a “critical need” in the life sciences sector and create a “sustainable pipeline” of investible opportunities.

Says Alsagoff: “As a long-term investor in the life sciences field, Temasek is committed to deploying patient capital to catalyse innovative solutions that will improve the well-being of current and future generations.”

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“We have observed a burgeoning number of early-stage life sciences commercialisation opportunities and companies in Singapore over the past decade, and see potential for an accelerated pathway to catapult these companies to global success,” he explains.

Wong Kan Seng, chairman of CLA Real Estate Holdings — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek whose portfolio includes 100% shareholding in CapitaLand Group — adds that he believes the life sciences industry offers infrastructure opportunities in Singapore through the development of an “ecosystem”.

Wong, a former deputy prime minister, says: “Bench to bedside innovations are increasingly prominent in Singapore, paving the way for us to build a world-class life sciences ecosystem. With ClavystBio supporting the acceleration of research discoveries into treatments and cures, there will be a significant boon to life sciences infrastructure opportunities in Singapore.”

CapitaLand’s portfolio spans diversified real estate classes including integrated developments, retail, office, residential, business parks and data centres, as well as Singapore Science Park and one-north — hubs for biomedical research and development (R&D).

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