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HCG combines clinical lab services unit with Strand Life Sciences

Oncology chain HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG) said it will merge its clinical lab services unit, Triesta Sciences, with Strand Life Sciences Pvt Ltd in an all-stock deal.

HCG will hold a 48.5% stake in Strand Life Sciences after the transaction, the Bengaluru-based hospital chain operator said in a stock market disclosure.

Strand Life Sciences focuses on clinical genomics and research in biotechnology. The combination of Triesta Sciences and Strand Life Sciences will create an entity that will strengthen its position in the specialised diagnostics and genomics research, HCG said.

Triesta Sciences’ revenue from clients other than HCG was Rs 7.1 crore in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017. This was 1.3% of HCG's total revenue. The unit, which was started in 2007, has capabilities in molecular diagnostics and clinical research.

Strand Life Sciences was founded in 2000 by Indian Institute of Science professors. It develops technology for data, image and text analysis, and for diagnostics testing in the fields of genomics, pharmaceuticals research and development, biotechnology and healthcare.

The company’s revenue fell to Rs 35.4 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 56.2 crore the previous year, the statement said.

Strand Life Sciences had attracted a slew of investors in the past. Biomark Capital (which split from Burrill & Co) paid $10 million to buy a stake in the company in its Series B round of funding in 2013.

This deal had a mix of primary and secondary components in which Strand's previous investors–ITVUS Fund, WestBridge and angel investors—exited. The previous investors had invested $3.5 million in 2002.

In September last year, Strand had sold assets related to systems biology and pharmaceutical bioinformatics services, among others, to contract research firm Syngene International Ltd, a unit of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw-led Biocon Ltd.

In January 2016, Strand Life Sciences went through a reverse merger with a little-known NASDAQ-listed firm.

HCG

The company was founded in 1998 by BS Ajai Kumar. It has 18 comprehensive cancer care centres in India. In July last year, HCG launched its first overseas cancer care centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 2013, it entered the infertility services segment through the acquisition of a 50.1% stake in Bangalore Assisted Conception Centre Pvt. Ltd, which operates fertility centres under the brand name Milann and offers specialised in vitro fertilisation and related services.

In August last year, HCG acquired a 17.72% stake in multi-specialty hospital Suchirayu Health Care Solutions Ltd for a nominal amount.

HCG is backed by PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Singapore state investment firm Temasek and International Finance Corporation (IFC). It got listed on the stock exchanges in March 2016.

In 2016-17, the company posted a profit after tax of Rs 22.2 crore on operating revenue of Rs 700.11 crore.

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