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Malayali entrepreneur to invest Rs 100 cr in life sciences startups- The New Indian Express


Sep 21, 2022

By Express News Service

A Malayali entrepreneur, who has successfully incubated and spun off four life sciences startups from his research lab in Kochi, plans to invest `100 crore in about 10-20 startups in biotech, genomics and related fields.

Sam Santhosh, who founded SciGenom Labs in a 10,000-sqft facility at the Cochin Special Economic Zone in 2009, said he sees immense potential and future for startups in the life sciences sector, specifically in the genomics sector, and has received a list of 10 such startups in the state identified by the Kerala Start Up Mission (KSUM). A few of them which made presentations have been shortlisted, Santhosh said at a SciGenom conference in Chennai recently. “We’re looking to invest  Rs 6-10 crore each in a startup, at various stages,” said Santhosh, who is also a biotech advisor to K-DISC.

The companies spun off by SciGenom Labs, which functions as a life sciences incubator, are Bengaluru-based MedGenome, a genetic diagnostics & genomics research company (incubated in 2010 at Kochi facility, spun off in 2013); Hyderabad-based AgriGenome, an agriculture genomics company (2013 and 2016); Saskin Life Sciences, which is into developing drugs to cure adult blindness (2018, and spun off in 2020); and Chennai-based MagGenome, a firm producing DNA & RNA extraction kits using magnetic nanoparticles (incubated in 2017, spun off in 2018). Saskin Life Sciences was later sold to Kemwell Life Sciences in 2018.

KSUM CEO Anoop Ambika had earlier told  that there are enough life sciences-based startups in Kerala that have the potential to make it big.

“When we got the proposal from SciGenom, we started checking the life sciences-based startups in Kerala and, to our surprise, we found a good bunch of them,” he said.

There has been unprecedented growth in genomics over the past decade and experts are of the view that genome sequencing costs are plummeting. Santhosh, who shuttles between California where his family is based, and Kochi, was the CEO and MD of California Software Ltd (Calsoft), which he founded in 1992. He sold Calsoft, a firm listed on stock exchanges, for an estimated  Rs 100 crore in 2009.