AngelCentral Deep Dive Series Webinar: Understanding and Investing in BioMedical Startups

AngelCentral Deep Dive Series Webinar: Understanding and Investing in BioMedical Startups

Medical healthcare has undergone an outstanding technological transformation over the past decade. This is even so especially during the COVID period where there are multiple breakthroughs by medical startups and such changes have essentially modified every aspect of the healthcare industry. According to various research, technology has already been postulated to be as capable as doctors as diagnosing diseases. Processes and procedures which were once impossible have become probable, restructuring everything from patient diagnosis’ to treatments.

At this workshop, Dr. Toh Han Chong and Dr. Prem Pillay shared about their experiences and discussed some case studies to aid our angels to better understand and learn about the many facets the Biomedical space, the process a typical Biomedical company goes through, what a Biomedical startup requires and how angels should go about valuing a Biomedical startup before investing. The 2nd half of the workshop featured a panel discussion by experienced practitioners who gave angels greater insight into this space.

Panelists included:

  • Dr. Toh Han Chong, Deputy Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Founding Chief Medical Officer, Tessa Therapeutics Ltd
  • Dr. Prem Pillay, Medical Director and Consultant Neurosurgeon, Singapore Brain Spine Nerve Center, Mt Elizabeth Medical Center
  • Hossein Nejati, Co-founder and CTO, KroniKare
  • Ng Choon-Peng, CEO & Chairperson, immunoSCAPE

Trainer & Panelist: Dr. Toh Han Chong, Deputy Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Founding Chief Medical Officer, Tessa Therapeutics Ltd

Dr. Toh Han Chong is Deputy Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Associate Professor at the Cancer & Stem Cell Biology Program and SingHealth-Duke Global Health Institute, Duke-NUS, and adjunct PI at the Singapore Immunology Network.

Dr. Toh received the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award 2018 for developing and building a cancer immunotherapy programme in Singapore. He is the founding Chief Medical Officer of Tessa Therapeutics Ltd. Tessa Therapeutics Ltd is a clinical stage cancer immunotherapy biotech which harnesses engineered immune cells as treatments for cancer. This Singapore-grown company was founded on the back of a National Cancer Centre Singapore Phase II clinical trial which showed encouraging results for the addition of T cell immunotherapy against advanced nasopharyngeal cancer. Dr Toh was its founding Chief Medical Officer and began with the company ground up since its inception. Tessa Therapeutics conducted the world’s first and largest phase III clinical trial of T cell therapy in any cancer type – a global feat of both rollercoaster highs and lows and still successfully completed with a strong clinical product manufacturing and a solid reliable supply chain established. The journey of a Singapore biotech in a nascent ecosystem through the early seed funding rounds, manpower growth, technology development, IP creation, infrastructure build up and forging partnerships locally and globally has real challenges and yet leverages on existing advantages and strengths unique to Singapore.

Dr. Toh is a council member of the Asia-Pacific Primary Liver Cancer Expert (APPLE) Association, the World Immunotherapy Council and has been on the Cancer Immunotherapy faculty of the European Society of Medical Oncology. He leads a National Large Collaborative Grant on virus-driven cancers prevalent in Asia. He has published over 110 peer review papers.

Trainer & Panelist: Dr. Prem Pillay, Medical Director and Consultant Neurosurgeon, Singapore Brain Spine Nerve Center, Mt Elizabeth Medical Center

Dr. Prem Pillay is the Medical Director and Consultant Neurosurgeon of Singapore Brain Spine Nerve Center, Mt Elizabeth Medical Center. He specialises in Back Pain, Neck Pain, and Brain Tumor/Stroke, Minimally Invasive solutions/ Robotics/ Mixed Reality and VR for brain and Spine Procedures/ Surgery, AI in Medicine and Surgery.

In his investing journey, he is the Healthcare advisor and limited partner at Jungle Ventures and HealthXCapital HQed out of Singapore. He is also the Limited partner and advisor AngelsMD and BioPacific which are both HQed n the USA.

Apart from that, he was also an intrapreneur with SGH where he led the startup, the Gamma Knife Center (the region’s first functional MRI), and raised $10 million. It was then invested by Singapore Technologies and was subsequently acquired by a private group after years of successful treatments.

Panelist: Hossein Nejati, Co-founder and CTO, KroniKare

Hossein Nejati, co-founder and CTO of KroniKare has a Ph.D. in machine learning and image processing from NUS and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Singapore University of Technology and Design, and MIT, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. During the past 10 years, Hossein has been working alongside nurses and medical practitioners in Singapore and the US, publishing 30 papers in the field and participated in developing core machine learning and data analysis modules in teams of a different mix.

Panelist: Ng Choon-Peng, CEO & Chairperson, immunoSCAPE

Choon co-founded immunoSCAPE in 2016 and serves as CEO and Chairperson. Previously, Choon was the Senior Director of the PharmBio cluster in A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) responsible for formulating Singapore’s Biomedical Research strategy. Prior to this, he was CEO Asia for LEO Pharma, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Denmark. He doubled the business of LEO in 15 Asian countries by breaking new ground in key countries and pushing for professionalism in key functional areas. Choon started his career in the biopharmaceutical industry at GSK, USA; and later at Scios Inc (Fremont, CA), a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson J&J. He rose through the ranks in J&J to become Country Manager of Janssen-Cilag Singapore, another J&J subsidiary. Choon’s first career was with the Singapore Armed Forces as a combat officer and he holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (Retired).

Choon holds an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross Business School and completed Executive Education at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. He graduated with a BSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics under a scholarship from the Singapore Armed Forces.

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