MedGenome, the largest genetic diagnostics provider in South Asia, announced an investment of $55 million led by LeapFrog Investments, a leading specialist investor in emerging markets. MedGenome’s existing investors–Sofina and Sequoia Capital have also participated in this new round of investment. The investment will help the company expanding access and affordability of genetic testing services across India. It will also drive creation of more diverse datasets and enable discovery of novel drug targets for MedGenome, which is also a large genetics researcher and data company globally.
“Genomics and personalized medicine are the future of healthcare, but emerging markets remain significantly under-penetrated. As the largest player in India in applied genomics, we are well-positioned to fill this gap” said Sam Santhosh, CEO and Founder of MedGenome, in an interview soon after the announcement of the LeapFrog transaction.
The Indian subcontinent, though contributes around 20% of the world’s population today, the DNA sequences of its people make up only around 0.2% of global genetic databases, he added indicating the scope for generating large and diverse datasets from this geography.
“Genetics is having a transformational impact on families through early disease risk detection, inherited disease prevention, health care personalization, and new therapy development,” he said adding that MedGenome strives to deliver these benefits to India and Emerging Markets, where the burden of many inherited and complex diseases is even higher than in western markets.
“We are excited about partnering with the LeapFrog team, who share our focus on profit with purpose, and look forward to leveraging their network and expertise to accelerate achievement of our goals,” the MedGenome founder said.
MedGenome has already built the largest database of South Asian genetic variants through its leadership in genetic diagnostics in India as well as its work as a co-founding member with GenomeAsia100K. The company has completed over 200,000 genomic tests to date and obtains samples from more than 550 hospitals and 6,000 clinicians across India. The new investment will help expanding the clinical genomic testing market by increased access in Tier-II and Tier-III towns and cities across India and accelerate the company’s drug discovery programs, MedGenome said in a media release.
“We are very excited to partner with MedGenome to increase access to affordable and high-quality genetic testing for emerging consumers in Asia and Africa,” said Dr. Felix Olale, Global Co-Lead for healthcare investments, LeapFrog Investments.
Dr Olale, who led theMedGenome transaction at LeapFrog, added that genomic sequencing will anchor the future of medicine and we must include other underrepresented genomes not only because it drives access, but also because it improves the accuracy for everyone.
“As the leading player in its field, we believe that our investment will enable MedGenome to rapidly consolidate its position in Asia and become a significant player in the global market for drug discovery and precision medicine. Our investment will also drive the development of new drug discovery platforms that will have an enormous impact on cancer and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Olale.
The investment in MedGenome will also seek to capitalise on the favourable dynamics in both the domestic and international markets for genetic diagnostics. The Indian genetic diagnostics market is expected to expand at 42% (CAGR) over the next five years. Globally, the market is projected to touch $28.5 billion by 2026 driven by improving penetration, affordability and increasing consumer awareness.
MedGenome’s latest research findings about Asian populations, in partnership with GenomeAsia 100K, was published as a cover article in the December 2019 issue of Nature magazine. The paper is now a strong reference base and discussion point for scientists working globally on genomics. The increased diversity captured in MedGenome’s genetic datasets is expected to drive discovery of new gene-disease associations, drug targets, and novel therapies.
LeapFrog, which invests in exceptional businesses in Africa and Asia by partnering with their leaders to achieve leaps of growth, profitability and impact, was founded in 2007. The companies, in which LeapFrog has investments, now reach 188 million people across 35 countries with healthcare or financial services, and have grown on average at 35% annually from the time of investment.
For LeapFrog, the MedGenome investment is in line with its consumer health approach and will be a key addition to the portfolio in terms of both returns and impact. Besides, it is also a strong fit for LeapFrog’s impact mandate via increasing the availability of essential diagnostics in emerging markets and creation of new drug targets for intractable diseases globally.
MedGenome had in 2018 announced the completion of a $40 million Series C funding led by HDFC Ltd. It raised the Series B funding of $20 million from Sequoia Capital in 2015.