XCyton Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based privately held medical diagnostics company, has raised up to Rs 20 crore from Fidelity Growth Partners, the asset management arm of Fidelity India, at least two sources briefed with the matter told VCCircle.
XCyton is a product development company, founded in 1993 by Dr B.V. Ravi Kumar, a physician-scientist-turned-technocrat. The company has its R&D and manufacturing facility in Bangalore in the Peenya Industrial Area.
Abhinav Sinha, Director, Fidelity Growth Partners India said ” At this point in time, we would not like to comment on this.” However, XCyton has already listed Fidelity as one of its investors. But the quantum of stake sold and the valuation of the company, therefore, could not be immediately ascertained.
XCyton claims to have developed the first indigenous ELISA kit for the detection of HIV infection (it is called HIV CheX), following which indigenous ELISA products for the detection of Hepatitis C, Neurocysticercosis and Japanese encephalitis were developed.
After meeting with some success in producing immunodiagnostic products, XCyton ventured into development of molecular diagnostic products for diagnosis of critical care infections and developed a DNA macro chip for simultaneous detection of the probable causative agents that cause a syndrome. The company seems to be transitioning from disease diagnosis to syndrome diagnosis.
However, this is not the first round of funding raised by the company. In 2007, XCyton received funding from Amvar Ventures Pvt Ltd, a sister concern of Nadathur Holdings – an investment firm established by N.S. Raghavan, founder and former managing director of Indian IT giant Infosys.
More recently, it raised money from Birthstone Capital Advisors, a private equity firm that specialises in operational style of investing. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon Ltd (the country’s leading biotechnology enterprise), is also an investor in the company in her personal capacity.
According to experts, Indian healthcare is a $35 billion market, projected to grow at 15 per cent per annum. Expansion of clinical trials market, the emergence of the country as a preferred global R&D hub, increased health awareness and quality consciousness in urban India are some of the reasons for the diagnostics industry to head for a major boom, cite experts.
Some major private equity funding in diagnostics space include Aureos India’s Rs 18.5 crore investment in Accutest Research Labs in 2006 and Sequoia Capital India’s Rs 100 crore investment in Hyderabad-based GVK Biosciences Pvt Ltd in November 2007. In April this year, Avigo Capital, a mid-market private equity fund, acquired 9.27 per cent of the post-investment equity share capital of Super Religare Laboratories, a diagnostics firm, for Rs 100 crore.