65LAB Launches in Partnership with Evotec SE and Backed by Leading Global Investors to Advance Drug Discovery and New Company Creation in Singapore

Published on : 3rd December 2023
  • A unique company creation vehicle initiated by Lightstone Ventures and Evotec SE, and established with partners ClavystBio, Leaps by Bayer, Polaris Partners, and the Polaris Innovation Fund
  • First-of-its-kind partnership in Singapore and Asia leverages breakthrough science from researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke-NUS Medical School, for global health impact
  • New incubator will accelerate translation of promising academic projects to commercialization through creation of new companies focused on breakthrough therapeutics and support the growth of Singapore’s biotech ecosystem

SINGAPORE, Oct. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Lightstone Ventures, ClavystBio, Leaps by Bayer, Polaris Partners, and the Polaris Innovation Fund, along with global life science company Evotec SE, today announced the launch of 65LAB to advance drug discovery and the creation of new therapeutics companies in Singapore.

The first collaboration of its kind in Singapore, 65LAB was initiated by Lightstone Ventures with Evotec to leverage the global capabilities of its partners – including financing, networks, company creation, and drug development expertise ­­ to identify and accelerate the

commercialization of the most promising research from top academic and R&D institutions in Singapore, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke-NUS Medical School (a collaboration between Duke University and NUS). 65LAB aims to combine Evotec’s end-to-end integrated R&D platform and product development strength with Singapore’s first-class academic and translational science, it’s growing biotech infrastructure and capabilities to ultimately create breakthrough therapies with a global health impact.

65LAB was founded to establish a model of long-term partnership to foster future company growth and the development of Singapore’s biotech ecosystem. 65LAB selects promising academic projects and invests up to US$1.5 million in each project over the course of 18-24 months. The collaboration enables scientists in partner institutions to accelerate their therapeutic innovations through the support of Evotec’s Expert-in-Residence, as well as direct access to the life science company’s drug discovery, translational and development capabilities across disease areas and therapeutic modalities. Upon completion, projects will be evaluated by 65LAB’s board of global investors for further investment and the creation of new companies.

The core of the 65LAB collaboration is its Singapore-based academic and R&D partners, whose research discoveries will be translated with the goal to potentially achieve commercial success and create positive patient impact. Singapore’s public sector academic and translational researchers bring expertise across multiple modalities of treatment and disease areas of high unmet need. Dr. Koh Shuwen, Director, Technology Transfer and Innovation, NUS Enterprise, said: “65LAB embodies the spirit of academic and industry collaboration, successfully translating the University’s intellectual property for use and adoption by the industry. This collaboration offers NUS and our partners an opportunity to accelerate innovation by engaging the industry at an early stage of deep technology development.” Assistant Professor David Wang, Director of the Centre for Technology and Development, Duke-NUS Medical School, added: “As a research powerhouse, Duke-NUS is committed to translating academic discoveries into clinical products, and I am confident that our collaboration with 65LAB will enable us to take that to a new level.” Ms. Irene Cheong, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Innovation & Enterprise Group said, “A*STAR is pleased to partner 65LAB and support the translation of novel biomedical discoveries from bench to bedside for the benefit of patients in Singapore and beyond. As a strategic innovation engine for Singapore’s R&D ecosystem, we look forward to contributing to the growth of the local biotech ecosystem.”

65LAB’s Board of Directors is a team of world-leading biotech investors with broad expertise in company building and advancing a broad range of therapeutic modalities into and through the clinic. The Board provides oversight and governance to 65LAB’s strategy and operations and includes Dr. Wen Qi Ho, Therapeutics Lead, ClavystBio, Dr. Christina Isacson, Partner, Lightstone Ventures, Dr. Pei Sze Ng, Director, Leaps by Bayer, and Dr. Kim Png, Principal, Polaris Partners.

Dr. Christina Isacson, Partner, Lightstone Ventures, said: “Lightstone has long been committed to supporting the growth of Singapore’s promising biotech sector, and we are thrilled at this opportunity to continue to foster and invest in the exciting drug development research coming out of the country’s universities. 65LAB is a unique entity, whose key differentiator is the syndicate of seasoned global life science investors who recognize the untapped potential of Singapore’s excellent base of scientific talent. We are pleased to partner with such a distinguished group of investors, who bring significant resources, experience and networks to transform these innovations into new medicines and bring them to market.”

Dr. Thomas Hanke, EVP Head of Academic Partnerships at Evotec, said: “Singapore has multiple world-renowned institutions for basic research in the life sciences. Through 65LAB, we are looking forward to translating their ground-breaking research into product candidates and new company formations that will benefit patients with unmet medical needs across all modalities and therapeutic areas.”

About 65LAB
65LAB was founded to turn innovations into lifesaving medicines. Our mission is to drive
scientific advancement and create new therapeutic companies from Singapore. We accelerate the drug discovery pathway and new company formation by bringing together the expertise of global partners — leading research institutions in Singapore, established life science investors, and reputed drug discovery and development company Evotec. 65 pays homage to the year Singapore became an independent nation. It is also Singapore’s country code. 65lab.sg

Additional Quotes

Dr. Khoo Shih, Chief Executive Officer, ClavystBio, said: “65LAB unites private and public sector players in a shared vision. ClavystBio’s mission is to accelerate the commercialization of life sciences innovations through venture building and creating partnerships, and we’re excited to be supporting the development of scientific talent and innovations at Singapore’s leading academic and R&D institutions to enable new venture creation and grow our ecosystem.”

Dr. Juergen Eckhardt, EVP, Head of Leaps by Bayer and Pharmaceuticals Business Development, Licensing & Open Innovation, said: “We are thrilled to invest in Asia alongside a top-tier syndicate to tap into the remarkable science talent in Singapore and beyond. Leaps’ mission is to solve ten of humanity’s biggest challenges through investing in teams pursuing fundamental breakthroughs. Neither innovation nor disease knows geographic boundaries, and as such, we seek to support the best and brightest minds around the world for the benefit of patients and eagerly await the advancements poised to come out of 65LAB.”

Amy Schulman, Managing Partner of Polaris Partners and the Polaris Innovation Fund, said: “Singapore has a burgeoning biotech ecosystem, including a wealth of academic science that is hungry to be translated. 65LAB will play an important role in bringing development capabilities and expertise to facilitate the translation of these innovative IP. Together with our academic and investor partners, we look forward to supporting the development of new medicines and innovations that will benefit patients globally.”

About ClavystBio
ClavystBio’s mission is to accelerate the commercialization of life sciences breakthroughs into health impact. We invest and partner with innovators, entrepreneurs and founders to launch and grow global companies in Singapore. We foster partnerships among academics, industry and investors, and convene life sciences communities at our collaborative innovation space Node 1. Together, we advance Singapore as a global life sciences translational hub. www.clavystbio.com

About Lightstone Ventures
Lightstone Ventures is a global venture capital fund dedicated to translating novel scientific breakthroughs into clinically and commercially meaningful therapies. We invest in biotech and medtech companies pioneering the big ideas poised to transform patient outcomes. We were founded in 2012 to empower visionary entrepreneurs with the resources and operational guidance necessary to bring innovative therapeutics and technologies to the people who need them most. Our investment team has led deals resulting in 19 acquisitions and 20 initial public offerings over the last two decades. We have offices in Boston, Mass., Menlo Park, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland. www.lightstonevc.com

About Leaps by Bayer
Leaps by Bayer, a unit of Bayer AG, leads impact investments into solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges in health and agriculture. The investment portfolio includes more than 50 companies. They are all working on potentially breakthrough technologies to overcome some specific challenges such as, e.g., developing a sustainable protein supply, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture, preventing or curing cancer, and others. www.leaps.bayer.com

About Polaris Partners and Polaris Innovation Fund
Polaris Partners has a 25-plus-year history of partnering with repeat entrepreneurs and world-class innovators who are improving the way we live and work. The multibillion-dollar firm manages specialty and diversified funds in healthcare and technology with investments across all stages. Polaris Innovation Fund aims to accelerate the commercial and therapeutic potential of early-stage academic research. By partnering with passionate entrepreneurs with transformational science, Polaris Innovation Fund fosters company creation and growth through an active investment model. www.polarispartners.com

About Evotec SE
Evotec is a life science company with a unique business model that delivers on its mission to discover and develop highly effective therapeutics and make them available to the patients. The Company’s multimodality platform comprises a unique combination of innovative technologies, data and science for the discovery, development, and production of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products. Evotec leverages this “Data-driven R&D Autobahn to Cures” for proprietary projects and within a network of partners including all Top 20 Pharma and over 800 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, as well as other healthcare stakeholders. Evotec has strategic activities in a broad range of currently underserved therapeutic areas, including e.g. neurology, oncology, as well as metabolic and infectious diseases. Within these areas of expertise, Evotec aims to create the world’s leading co-owned pipeline for innovative therapeutics and has to-date established a portfolio of more than 200 proprietary and co-owned R&D projects from early discovery to clinical development. Evotec operates globally with more than 5,000 highly qualified people. The Company’s 17 sites offer highly synergistic technologies and services and operate as complementary clusters of excellence. www.evotec.com

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore’s lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit www.a-star.edu.sg.

About Duke-NUS Medical School
Duke-NUS is Singapore’s flagship graduate entry medical school, established in 2005 with a strategic, government-led partnership between two world-class institutions: Duke University School of Medicine and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Through an innovative curriculum, students at Duke-NUS are nurtured to become multi-faceted ‘Clinicians Plus’ poised to steer the healthcare and biomedical ecosystem in Singapore and beyond. A leader in ground-breaking research and translational innovation, Duke-NUS has gained international renown through its five Signature Research Programmes and ten centres. The enduring impact of its discoveries is amplified by its successful Academic Medicine partnership with Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), Singapore’s largest healthcare group. This strategic alliance has spawned 15 Academic Clinical Programmes, which harness multi-disciplinary research and education to transform medicine and improve lives. www.duke-nus.edu.sg

About National University of Singapore (NUS)
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We have 16 colleges, faculties and schools across three campuses in Singapore, with more than 40,000 students from 100 countries enriching our vibrant and diverse campus community. We have also established more than 20 NUS Overseas Colleges entrepreneurial hubs around the world.

Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and entrepreneurship enables us to work closely with industry, governments and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in our faculties, research centres of excellence, corporate labs and more than 30 university-level research institutes focus on themes that include energy; environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases; active ageing; advanced materials; risk management and resilience of financial systems; Asian studies; and Smart Nation capabilities such as artificial intelligence, data science, operations research and cybersecurity. www.nus.edu.sg

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Argot Partners