Ratan Tata invests in cancer therapeutic startup Invictus Oncology.
New Delhi | RNW | By Biswarup Gooptu, ET Bureau | 8 Feb, 2016, 13.29 IST.
Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in next generation cancer therapeutic startup Invictus Oncology, the New Delhi-based company announced on Monday.
The investment in Invictus Oncology is Tata’s fifth in 2016, and follows the Tata Sons patriarch’s investments in startup research platform Tracxn, pet care portal DogSpot, baby and maternity care online retailer FirstCry, as well as in cash-back and coupons venture, CashKaro, all four of which were announced in January.
“I have admired Ratan Tata’s insights and astute assessment of technology for decades now, So I am thrilled he has invested in Invictus, which is not just developing ground-breaking innovations for cancer treatment, but is also among the very first startups based out of India to tread the path of novel discovery and biotech innovation,” said Raghunath A. Mashelkar, co-founder of Invictus Oncology.
The details of Tata’s investment in the company were, however, not disclosed.
Invictus Oncology utilises a supramolecular technology platform to design anti-cancer drugs that home into the tumor, and modulate the tumor immune response.
The company claims that its lead molecule, IO 125, has already been validated in multiple cancer models, and is poised to enter IND-enabling studies to obtain US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approval for initiating clinical studies.
According to an official press statement, the Delhi-based startup will use the proceeds from the Series A round of funding to advance its lead molecule to completion of Phase I clinical studies, and to file a second Investigational New Drug (IND) application.
Invictus also claims that it has already developed a “deep pipeline of molecules,” which address a $20 billion market opportunity in the oncology space.
The startup’s existing investors, Navam Capital and Aarin Capital, the venture capital and fund of funds started by billionaire Ranjan Pai of the Manipal Group along with TV Mohandas Pai, have led the round. In 2013, it was reported that the company had raised about Rs 10.5 crore in a round led by the two VC firms.
“Mr Tata’s investment is a strong affirmation of the quality of the technology that Invictus has developed. We are getting excellent traction from investors, both from India and outside” said Shiladitya Sengupta, co-Founder of Invictus and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The investment in Invictus Oncology, Tata’s first in the Indian biotechnology and pharma startup space, will add to his rapidly expanding portfolio of almost 30 investments made over the last 12-18 months.
The corporate titan also counts a number of prominent consumer internet companies, such as, Snapdeal, Paytm, Urban Ladder, Bluestone Zivame, CarDekho and Kaaryah, among his portfolio.