US hospital operator Cedars-Sinai launches Singapore venture unit
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: US hospital operator Cedars-Sinai launches Singapore venture unit

Coronet Ventures

US-BASED healthcare player Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre has launched a new Singapore-based venture unit to invest in early-stage healthcare and biomedical science startups in the country.

Called Coronet Ventures, the unit plans to make equity investments in 12 to 15 Singapore startups over the next five years, with cheque sizes ranging from US$100,000 to US$3 million. It will look at deals in the pre-seed, seed and Series A stages.

“At the moment, we’re looking to focus just on Singapore, and the reason for that is the ecosystem here is very similar, and very synergistic with what we have in the US,” Coronet’s chief executive Nirdesh Gupta told The Business Times in an interview on Thursday (May 25).

Coronet will start off with an initial deployment of up to US$50 million, but “as long as there are companies and opportunities that really fit into our mission-driven approach, it could scale up to US$100 million”, said Gupta.

Cedars-Sinai, which was founded in 1902, has been increasingly focused on startups. Its innovation unit, the Cedars Sinai Intellectual Property Company (CSIP), has invested in 19 US-based startups in healthcare and biomedical science, with over US$1 billion in equity under management.

Coronet’s launch marks the first time that CSIP has set up an investment entity outside the US. The venture unit is keen on backing startups with “first-in-class and best-in-class” solutions across segments such as diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and digital health, said Gupta.

While Coronet is entering the market at a gloomy time for tech, CSIP president James Laur sees a benefit in valuations becoming more reasonable.

He said: “The positive side is that valuations have come back down to the planet, and people have put their feet back onto the earth… And it weeds out the people who are not in it for the long term.”

Healthtech startups need investors who are able to take a long-term view and understand the medical field in-depth, which is where Coronet’s strategic value comes in, noted Gupta.

Added Laur: “Our superpower is our 500 faculty members, who are the key opinion leaders in their fields. We can quickly have them look at the technological wizardry coming through a startup and see if there’s interest – if it’s been done before or will never happen.”

With its entry into Singapore, Coronet has also been appointed a co-investment partner of Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, under the Startup SG Equity scheme.

This is part of a broader partnership between EnterpriseSG and CSIP to nurture more disruptive healthtech startups here. CSIP will also work with Seeds Capital and other ecosystem players to identify startups for its Cedars-Sinai Accelerator programme.

Coronet Ventures’ decision to set up in Singapore “creates a valuable bridge between the US and Singapore ecosystems”, said Jeffrey Siow, chairman of Seeds Capital and managing director of EnterpriseSG.

This “will give our startups a head-start to build up their track records and create global social impact”, he added.

Seeds Capital is hoping to co-invest with Coronet in segments such as biopharma, given that Singapore companies have developed new drugs and precision therapies for diseases including cancer. “We are also looking forward to the expertise and experience that Cedars-Sinai will bring into our ecosystem, especially in commercialising early-stage biotech companies,” said Siow.

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.