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Motilal Oswal PE bets on Molbio Diagnostics in new healthcare bet
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Motilal Oswal Private Equity (MOPE), a subsidiary of diversified financial services group Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, has agreed to invest up to Rs 240 crore (approximately $32.75 million at current exchange rates) in Molbio Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd.

Mumbai-based MOPE said in a statement the investment will be made from its India Business Excellence Fund–III.

Vishal Tulsyan, managing director and CEO at MOPE, said Molbio’s business model of close-ended diagnostic platform with multiple test assays have strong potential across the globe both in public and private sector.

Separately, Molbio director and CEO Sriram Natarajan said the funding would help the company to accelerate its growth plans and expands its manufacturing capabilities.

Goa-based Molbio, was established in 2000, says it has collaborated with several domestic and international institutions, including the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and Grand Challenges Canada.

The firm and its subsidiary Bigtec Labs develop and commercialise Truenat, a point-of-care molecular diagnostics platform that uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.

The Truenat platform can diagnose at least 22 infectious diseases including tuberculosis, H1N1 swine flu, dengue, and HIV.

The diagnostics firm says its Truenat platform can deliver results within 60 minutes at an economical price point. The related hardware is also battery operable and can be used without the need for extensive infrastructure. Currently, devices using the platform are installed in over 500 private laboratories and more than 350 primary health centres in India and 27 other countries.

Apart from Molbio, MOPE also holds a stake in Arinna Lifesciences, which is focussed on marketing drugs in the central nervous system therapeutic segment. MOPE had raised over Rs 2,300 crore ($320 million) for its third sector-agnostic fund, India Business Excellence Fund-III, in October 2018. The fund aims to invest in established mid-market businesses.

The fund’s other investments include Gujarat-based MAS Financial Services, a non-bank lender; Mysuru-based family business conglomerate N Ranga Rao & Sons Pvt. Ltd, India's largest maker of incense sticks; and Ludhiana-based Happy Forgings Ltd, one of the largest crankshaft manufacturers in India.

The move to invest in Molbio represents another sign of the growing attraction of the diagnostic healthcare segment for both investors and strategic groups. For example, the Gurugram-based Dr Lal PathLabs Ltd in February agreed to acquire two pathological laboratories in Maharashtra for a total of Rs 7.7 crore (a little over $1 million).

Similarly, in January, pathology chain Metropolis Healthcare Ltd agreed to acquire a majority stake in the Gujarat-based Shraddha Diagnostic Centre (I) Pvt. Ltd for Rs 9.36 crore (around $1.3 million) in an all-cash deal.

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