SINGAPORE (Apr 23): Q&M Dental Group announced Thursday it is entering into a proposed joint venture to manufacture, sell and distribute diagnostic test kits and vaccines, including for Covid-19.

Q&M’s wholly-owned subsidiary Acumen Diagnostics (JVC) on April 22 entered into a business transfer agreement with Acumen Research Laboratories (ARL) and its sole shareholder, Dr Ong Siew Hwa.

Under the agreement, JVC will acquire the parts of ARL’s businesses that deal with the manufacture, sale and distribution of Covid-19 diagnostic test kits and vaccines, as well as the analysis of test results and conduct of clinical vaccine trials.

The purchase consideration for the ARL business transfer comes up to $400,000, which will be paid fully in cash on completion of the proposed acquisition.

A home-grown medical technology company, ARL offers a range of services and products including diagnostic tests that focus on diseases and clinical trials. 

Based on its unaudited financial statements for the financial year ended Feb 4, 2020, ARL recorded a negative book value of $151,000 and a negative net tangible asset value of $248,000. No independent valuation was conducted on ARL.

Q&M notes that ARL’s Acu-Corona 2.0 Diagnostic Test has been given provisional authorisation by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

“As the Acu-Corona 2.0 Diagnostic Test has received such provisional authorisation, it can be supplied to healthcare institutions, private hospitals, medical clinics and clinical laboratories in Singapore,” the group says.

It adds that it intends to work with various agencies to deploy its dentists to assist in conducting tests “as a service to the nation”.

“The board believes there is a market demand for diagnostic test kits and vaccine trials as well as vaccines due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and other similar future events,” Q&M says. “[It is] not just a business opportunity but an opportunity to provide an essential capability to Singapore in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In addition, Q&M is entering into a joint venture agreement with Ong, her sister-in-law Amy Zeng Wei Yi, and investment holding company Acumen Holdings to develop the business.

JVC has also inked an option agreement for the right to purchase 100% of Ong’s shares in ARL within 18 months.

Q&M will invest some $3 million in the joint venture. Following the transaction, Q&M will hold a 51.0% stake in the joint venture, while Ong, Amy and Acumen Holdings will hold interests of 30.672%, 5.0%, and 13.328%, respectively. SGX-listed HC Surgical also owns a 6.12% interest in Acumen Holdings.

Ong will also serve as chief executive officer of the joint venture. 

As of 11.12am, shares in Q&M are trading 18 cents higher, or up 40.9%, at 62 cents following the announcement.