Mitra Biotech raises $27.4 mn from Sequoia, Sands Capital, others
Mallik Sundaram, Co-Founder & CEO, Mitra Biotech

Mitra Biotech Pvt. Ltd, which focuses on personalised cancer care and rational drug development, has raised $27.4 million in a Series B round of funding co-led by Sequoia India and Washington-based Sands Capital Ventures, it said in a statement.

Boston-based RA Capital Management and existing investors Accel Partners and Tata Capital Innovations Fund also participated in the funding round while giving an exit to other investors Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN) and India Innovation Fund.

The Bangalore-based company will use the funds to enhance its technology and engage in new studies to demonstrate CANScript's clinical utility, Mallikarjun Sundaram, chief executive of Mitra Biotech, said in the statement.

CANScript, a platform validated on thousands of patients, is used to tailor therapies for patients and speed up drug development. 

"We will also move forward with our commercial efforts in the US, India and other key markets," he said.

Mitra Biotech, which was founded by Sundaram and former faculty member of Harvard Medical School Dr Pradip Majumder in 2009, had received its first external funding of around $2.2 million from KITVEN Fund, Accel and India Innovation Fund. It had raised fresh funds from Tata Capital Innovations Fund, a domestic venture capital fund managed by Tata Capital in 2013.

“Oncology is amongst the fastest-growing markets within healthcare in India. It is growing at 15% and we estimate it be a Rs 40,000 crore market by 2020,” said Rana Mehta, partner and leader - healthcare at consulting firm PwC India.

Other PE-backed companies operating within the oncology space include HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), which listed on the stock markets early in March, and Cancer Treatment Services International, in which TPG Growth invested early in April.

Sequoia, which makes seed investments of a few hundred thousand dollars to over $50 million growth equity investments in India, is one of the most active VC firms in India. This year, it raised its largest India-focused fund worth $920 million as it looks for early- and mid-stage investment opportunities.

“Sequoia is pleased to join Mitra in its mission to have cancer patients receive treatments with the highest likelihood of success at the time when they can be most impactful,” said Anjana Sasidharan, principal, Sequoia and Mitra board member. “CANScript can also help patients avoid the side effects and costs of ineffective treatments,” she said.

Other major healthcare portfolio firms of Sequoia include eye care chain Vasan Healthcare, pharmaceutical company Akumentis Healthcare Ltd, dermatology firm Curatio Healthcare, hospital firm Moolchand Healthcare and oncology and critical care pharmaceutical company Celon Labs.

A member of Sands Capital will also join the board of Mitra Biotech. The US-based company, which was founded in 1992, had assets under management of $38.4 billion, according to its website.

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