Singapore Biopharma Manufacturer Raises $200 Million Series A

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Singapore-based Esco Lifesciences closed a $200 million oversubscribed Series A financing and crossover round that will enable the company that provides life sciences tools and services to expand its toehold in China and the United States. 

Esco is a manufacturer of laboratory and biopharma equipment and IVF medical devices. The company has four different divisions, Scientific, Medical, Healthcare, and Aster, which offers “mission-critical equipment and advanced solutions” to laboratories, clinics, and bio-pharma production sites in over 100 countries. 

The company employs more than 1,300 people across the globe. It has offices in more than 100 companies, including eight manufacturing and R&D hubs in the US, Europe, the UK, China, and Singapore. The financing round is the largest private fundraising round by an Asia-based life sciences tools company, Esco said in its announcement. 

XQ Lin, chairman and chief executive officer of Esco Lifesciences, called the financing round a significant milestone for the company as it initiates its “Esco 3.0 transformation” that primarily includes strategic bolt-on M&A and expedited expansion in China. 

In addition to expansion in China, Lin said the company would use a portion of the funds to create an innovation hub in Boston focused on cell and gene therapy tools and technologies. Lin expects these moves will enable the company to maintain the “strong revenue growth” the company has achieved over the past ten years.

“We will increase our R&D and in-licensing efforts to develop and commercialize novel life science research tools in emerging domains, thus enabling fundamental scientific discoveries and, ultimately, the diagnostics and medicines of tomorrow,” Lin said in a statement. 

The $200 million financing round was led by Vivo Capital and Novo Holdings A/S. New investors, including China Investment Corporation, Singapore-based global investor EDBI, also participated in the round, as did other unnamed investors. 

Lin said Esco was pleased to have the support of “these truly global top tier life sciences investors from the US, Europe, China and Singapore.”

Kasim Kutay, CEO of Novo Holdings, said there is a significant opportunity for growth and expansion at Esco, mainly as it engages in its new growth strategy. Amit Kakar, head of Novo Holdings Asia and a new member of the Esco Board of Directors, called the investment in Esco an important milestone for the Denmark-based investment company that established its Asia presence in January. 

Shan Fu, the managing partner and CEO of Greater China for Vivo Capital, expressed excitement about the financial support provided to Esco. Fu, who will also take a seat on the board of directors, said the consortium of investors will work together to leverage their healthcare resources to accelerate and support Esco’s next phase of growth. 

“We hope to facilitate Esco's global expansion and to elevate Esco into an Asian global life science industry leader, to fulfill its mission of improving lives through science,” Fu said in a statement.

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