Biotech Startup Asa Ren Announces IDR 123 Billion Initial Funding
Asa Ren claims to be the first company in Indonesia to focus on managing DNA data
Platform Biotech which provides affordable DNA testing "Asa Ren" has completed initial funding of $8,15 million or around 123,5 billion Rupiah. This round was led by Top Harvest and Marcy Venture Partners, as well Kejora Capital (Kejora-SBI Orbit Fund and Orbit Capital Malaysia).
Other investors involved in this funding include Northstar Ventures, Naya Capital, Marcy Venture Partners, PT Diagnos Laboratory Utama Tbk, and several angel investors who is not identified.
The company will use these fresh funds to innovate in the Indonesian healthcare industry through genomic data to accelerate the development of drug discovery technologies and healthcare that are tailored to each individual's genetic profile.
Currently, Asa Ren has provided direct DNA test accessibility to consumers by offering more than 360 reports -- including health risks (predisposed risk), hereditary information (ancestry), and other reports for adults to children. Asa Ren claims to be one of the first DNA data companies in Indonesia.
"Gaining the trust of leading partners and global investors is an honor for Asa Ren. This is also a big stepping stone in the achievement of the development of the genomic and health industry in Indonesia. Our company will continue to focus on building this industry together with partners," said the Founder & CEO Asa Ren Aloysius Liang.
Asa Ren will also use fresh funds to expand its efforts to deepen digital capabilities, developing clinical bioinformatics, e-health passports, and databases clinico-genomics which focuses on non-communicable diseases.
The company also has plans to add medical diagnostic services and complete customer health data profiles. To date, Asa Ren has signed cooperation agreements with more than 47 hospital and clinic partners, and is targeting development to more than 60 partners in 2023.
"The cooperation they have carried out, the laboratory capabilities they have, and the targets they are aiming for are the superior points that we see from this company," said Top Harvest Capital Founder Adam Ghobarah.
Currently there are several other startups in the biotech field that have also received support from venture capitalists. One that is quite similar is Nalagenetics, they just posted series A funding in mid-2022. Their primary service is developing sets of genetic testing products and services.
Nalagenetics has developed clinical modules for pharmacogenomics, nutrigenomics and breast cancer risk prediction. It then plans to develop new modules around polygenic risk scores to address complex conditions and Southeast Asia's biggest killers, including cardiometabolic diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions.
Expand DNA testing services in Indonesia
Data released by the Indonesian Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) reveals that more than 70% of deaths in Indonesia are caused by diseases that can be prevented by early detection through the DNA profile of each individual. These diseases include diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. However, only 17% of the total health budget expenditure is allocated for disease prevention.
In particular, at this time DNA testing is still classified as an expensive service. Through this test, more detailed information can be obtained regarding genes, lineage, personality, talent and disease risk.
Asa Ren develops equipment, experts, and laboratories all in Jakarta so that samples for DNA testing do not have to be sent abroad. The hope is that it will make it easier for users and of course make the price of DNA tests more affordable.
"Indonesia is a country with the highest biodiversity in Southeast Asia with more than 1.300 ethnic groups. This opens up opportunities for innovation in the health sector through genetic research. We believe Asa Ren's presence will accelerate this innovation," said Kejora Capital Founder and Managing Partner Andy Zain.