Quadria Capital backs Strand Life Sciences
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Strand Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd, which focuses on clinical genomics and biotechnology research, has raised funds from healthcare-focussed private equity firm Quadria Capital.

Venture capital firm Healthquad, floated by the founders of Quadria, and Heritas Venture Fund, which is a limited partner to the private equity firm, have also participated in the round, Quadria said in a statement, without disclosing financial details.

However, one person with direct knowledge of the development pegged the investment at $13 million (Rs 83.6 crore).

The funding comes just a little over a month after oncology chain HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd said that it will merge its clinical lab services unit, Triesta Sciences, with Strand Life Sciences. The merger was aimed at creating an entity, which will strengthen its position in specialised diagnostics and genomics research.

According to Amit Varma, managing partner, Quadria Capital, the investment will go into building Strand Life Sciences’ three verticals – clinical diagnostics, bioinformatics and contract research organisation – with the aim to enrich its end-to-end capabilities in precision medicine.

“It will bring affordable and high quality specialised tests to emerging market consumers, support physicians to make better decisions and leverage the power of genomics data to potentially impact the global drug discovery market,” he said, adding that whenever the company needs more money, all the shareholders will support it.

“The partnership with Quadria and HealthCare Global will help launch Strand into its next phase of growth and into an era where data analytics and molecular measurements together would change diagnosis and treatment paradigms,” Strand Life Sciences CEO Ramesh Hariharan said, adding that existing investor Biomark Capital has partially exited in this transaction.

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

The company has also attracted a slew of investors in the past. In 2013, Biomark Capital, which split from Burrill & Co, had paid $10 million to buy a stake in the company during its Series B round. The transaction, which had a mix of primary and secondary components, saw the then existing investors – ITVUS Fund, WestBridge and a few angels – exit the company. The investors had pumped in $3.5 million in Strand 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 had said that it would opt for a reverse merger with a little-known NASDAQ-listed firm, but the deal did not materialise. According to Hariharan the reverse merger did not happen due to regulatory complications. "At the moment, there are no such plans,” said Quadria’s Varma.

Quadria’s investments

The private equity firm, co-founded by Abrar Mir and Varma, had marked the final close of its first healthcare-focused fund in mid-2015 for investments in the South and Southeast Asian region.

It has struck four deals in India, which includes multispecialty hospital chain Medica Synergie, single-specialty hospital Asian Institute of Gastroenterology and pharmaceuticals firm Concord Biotech. The fund’s latest investment in the country was in home healthcare services provider Health Care At Home India Pvt. Ltd.

Its investments outside India include Indonesian pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution firm OHO Global Health and Vietnam-based FV Hospital. Last month, it had invested in Malaysia’s leading diagnostic company Lablink.

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