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Accuron MedTech opens S$10m incubator hub in Tuas

The Business Times by JANICE HENG,ANNABETH LEOW

SINGAPORE-BASED medical device company Accuron MedTech opened a S$10 million medical technology (medtech) centre here on Thursday.

The 22,000-square-foot centre in Tuas provides incubator facilities and business services for the group's portfolio companies, complementing the core urology unit, Dornier MedTech.

Group CEO Abel Ang told The Business Times ahead of the launch: "By being connected to a core business with global reach, global facilities and global capabilities, we are not confined to urology for the incubator side."

Accuron MedTech's incubation arm, which made up one-tenth of its US$200 million turnover last year, has done 10 mergers and acquisitions in the last four years, including early investments in kidney dialysis company AWAK Technologies and Nasdaq-listed Aslan Pharmaceuticals.

Its sale of Veredus Laboratories this year was billed as one of the largest medtech exits here.

The deal size was not made public, but market sources said at the time that Veredus could be worth around US$83 million.

Returns on the incubation financing have been in the "healthy double-digits", said Mr Ang.

He added that Accuron MedTech has made another full divestment, with similar returns, but did not give more details on the deal.

It opened a S$20 million fund under a drive for medtech accelerators that former statutory board Spring Singapore unveiled in 2014, and is putting up to S$10 million in a second such fund with Enterprise Singapore (ESG).

But Mr Ang said that "the figure could be more", as Accuron MedTech taps other financing sources for its investments, beyond ESG's funds. "It depends on what the partners in the fund are trying to achieve."

Accuron MedTech - an independent division of Accuron Technologies, which is owned by state investment firm Temasek Holdings through Singapore Technologies - now has eight firms in its stable.

AWAK is the first portfolio company to move its headquarters to the new centre, where it has access to cleanroom manufacturing and assembly.

Kidney disease company Advent Access and Peregrine Ophthalmic are also moving in.

As more firms are housed in the centre, there is potential to expand the available space by 50 per cent, said Accuron MedTech.

The centre is next to the global headquarters of AMT, also known as Advanced Materials Technologies - Accuron MedTech's medical technology contract manufacturing business.

Portfolio companies will be able to access AMT's advanced manufacturing capabilities and can also get support in areas such as research and development and business development, with access to Accuron MedTech's senior management.

Mr Ang called the Veredus exit and Aslan's bourse debut this year "a milestone that creates a notion in people's minds that Singapore and South-east Asian healthcare ventures can take their place on the global stage".

He added that institutes such as the national Agency for Science, Technology and Research, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University are "outstanding sources of deal flow and technology".