PremjiInvest bets on Sequoia-backed Koye Pharmaceuticals
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PremjiInvest, the family office of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, has struck a new deal by investing in Mumbai-based Koye Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.

The transaction will help Koye strengthen its position in the domestic formulation market and pursue newer business avenues, said Gawir Baig, director and life sciences lead at investment bank o3 Capital, which advised the pharmaceutical company on the deal.

Baig did not disclose financial details of the transaction. However, VCCircle had reported in September that PremjiInvest was set to invest Rs 125-130 crore (about $18 million) in Koye for a stake of around 15%. This is PremjiInvest's first bet on a pharmaceuticals company in the country in more than a decade. 

Koye, which makes essential drugs for primary speciality care, was founded in 2013 by Ravindra Shenoy and Preetish Toraskar. It had first raised external capital from multi-stage investor Sequoia Capital the same year. 

Sequoia put more money into the company last year, increasing its stake from 58.3% to 62.6%. It has invested a total of $28.76 million in the company in tranches through 2017, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. 

Koye has also raised money from Temasek’s venture debt arm, InnoVen Capital. The company's net sales for the financial year 2016-17 grew to Rs 138.5 crore from Rs 91.3 crore the year before. Net loss widened to Rs 53.2 crore from Rs 38.1 crore, according to VCCEdge.

PremjiInvest's bets

PremjiInvest has invested in more than half a dozen new companies since January, according to VCCEdge.

In September, PremjiInvest acquired a 4% stake in SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd. 

In June, PremjiInvest picked up a 6% stake in Future Retail Ltd for Rs 1,672 crore ($250 million) in its single-biggest investment to date, almost a decade after Wipro chairman Premji burnt his fingers in the retail sector with now-defunct supermarket chain Subhiksha. Future Retail is the operator of BigBazaar hypermarkets and EasyDay supermarkets. 

PremjiInvest's second-biggest bet was the purchase of a 4% stake in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd for Rs 1,300 crore in 2015.

Its other large bets include investments in educational and training services company Manipal Global Education, diversified financial services firm Aditya Birla Capital Ltd and National Stock Exchange Ltd.

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