Having completed a $35 million Series-B round of fundraising, Singapore's Biofourmis is moving Stateside, the digital therapeutics startup said on Tuesday.
Sequoia Capital’s India branch co-led the funding with MassMutual Venture. Chinese online health platform Jianke and Singapore government-linked EDBI also participated in the round with existing investors Openspace Venture, Aviva Ventures and SGInnovate.
Biofourmis is moving to the US because it sells 90% of its products in the world's biggest healthcare market. It is also easier to build a research team in the US given the deeper pool of talent in the more mature biotech ecosystem, chief executive Kuldeep Singh Rajput replied to FinanceAsia via email.
Another important fillip, Biofourmis is targeting an IPO in the US by 2023, so the move helps its preperation. The startup is aiming to raise its next round of funding in two year's time and to reach a $1 billion valuation at the time of the IPO.
Biofourmis said the proceeds will be used to develop artificial intelligence, drug therapies, wearable sensors and phone apps to aggregate more data on its platform, provide clinically validated solutions for medical research.
Biofourmis completed its $5 million Series A fundraising in 2017. The company has raised a total $41.7 million to date, according to data collated by Crunchbase.
“Our new funds will allow us to rapidly expand our workforce and commercialisation efforts, while further demonstrating the clinical efficacy of our digital therapeutics platform through research and development," Rajput said.
Founded in 2015 in Singapore, Biofourmis has accumulated data on 100,000 patients. By collaborating with healthcare providers and services, Biofourmis aims to provide continuous physiological insights and analysis to medical institutions and insurance companies for better management and cost-reduction.
On its website, it talks about "leveraging the revolution in bio-sensor technology and personalized predictive analytics" to empower "patients with tools for post-acute monitoring at-home to increase patient safety, thereby reducing avoidable readmissions."
As demand for better healthcare booms in Asia, so does the cost of medical research and drug development.
Several institutional investors FinanceAsia has spoken to mention the high and rising cost of healthcare research teams and talent in China and other Asian countries, even compared to the US.
Although US healthcare regulators have stricter privacy policies when it comes to data collecting, the US is still top when it comes to healthcare spending. In emerging Asia, healthcare spending is still low compared with the developed world, according to an HSBC report. Healthcare spending is still about 5% of Asian countries' GDP versus a 17% in the US.
Many healthcare-related startups in Asia view the region's underdeveloped medical insurance payments system as a headache too.
“There is a mature drug payment market in the US that helps drug innovation,” Jonathan Zhao, chairman of pharmaceutical company Transcenta told FinanceAsia in a recent interview. “Companies may lose interest if they keep selling their product at a low price.”
Biofourmis aims to grow to more than 100 employees in the US and Singapore by the end of 2019.
The company is one of many globally looking to ride the wave of new technology, artificial intelligence and big data to usher in a new golden era of medical breakthroughs for an ageing population.
As a recent white paper by CEC Capital put it, there is a growing opportunity to help people "grow old elegantly"