Nanostart AG, the world's leading nanotechnology
investment company based in Germany, is taking an investment position
in Singapore-based Curiox Biosystems, with a 16.5 per cent investment
in the start-up.
A spin-off from Singapore's Institute
of Bioengineering and
Nanotechnology (IBN), part of the Agency for
Science, Technology and
Research (A*STAR), Curiox holds a patented convenient and efficient
technology platform in miniaturized aqueous bioassays for drug
discovery and other life sciences applications. Its ready-for-market
technology allows researchers to conduct bioassays significantly faster
and cheaper with lesser material, while maintaining the same level of
flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms. It reduces the
amount of material and reagent required by up to a thousand times,
while simultaneously reducing reaction time by ten times. This slashes
the time needed to run certain tests by more than 60 per cent and
reduce consumable costs by nearly 90 per cent.
Curiox's target customers are research labs and
screening facilities in life sciences and drug discovery where
bioassays are a necessary part of the research process. In particular,
the U.S. represents Curiox's largest potential market with more than
12,000 suitable academic and government labs, which spent $14.3 billion
on lab instruments, consumables and reagents in 2005, and more than
14,000 industrial pharma and biotech labs, which spent $37.4 billion in
2005. Curiox's technology comprises a chip, upon which the reagents are
added, mixed and incubated, and a bench-top station, which
automatically completes the rinsing process. Industrial customers will
also be able to profit significantly from the reduction in costs for
reagents as well as the savings in time.
For Nanostart AG, the investment in Curiox marks its first in
is of strategic importance. Nanostart is investing in Curiox as the
lead investor and is thus assuming an active role with its investment
managers in the ongoing development of the company, jointly with
"Our new investment holding, Curiox, is our first step into
promising Asian market," explained Marco Beckmann, CEO of Nanostart AG.
"Singapore has established an outstanding position for itself in Asia
in nanotechnology. Through our investment in Curiox, we aim to directly
participate in the dynamic growth of this region and to live up to our
claim of global leadership. Further investments in Asia will follow."
Mr Boon Swan Foo, Executive Chairman of Exploit Technologies
the marketing and commercialisation arm of A*STAR, said, "We are very
excited that the technologies from A*STAR have received such strong
interest from Europe, and more so to have Nanostart as a partner to
help Exploit Technologies realise the full commercial potential of
Curiox. This is a very good beginning and we look forward to more
collaborations with Nanostart."
Singapore's IBN, from which Curiox was spun-off, is
its expertise in bioengineering and nanotechnology research and is
helmed by Prof. Jackie Yi-Ru Ying. She is among the world's leading
experts in nanotechnology, and was among the youngest ever to be named
a full professor at the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) in Boston prior to joining IBN. She will hold a seat
on the company's board of directors along with a representative from
Prof Ying said, "This technology has enormous potential to
life science, drug discovery and clinical research, and we are
delighted to partner with Nanostart AG to bring this technology from
the bench to the market."
Curiox will be headed by Dr. Namyong Kim, who was the leader
of the IBN
research team that developed the new bioassay technology. The
CEO-designate of Curiox began his career as a chemist at Agilent
Technologies in the U.S. and received his doctorate from MIT. Before he
came to IBN, he was the head of the Chemistry group for the U.S.
company BioTrove and was also the head of chemistry at an American
Said Dr Kim, "We have found the ideal partner in Nanostart AG.
in the preliminary stages of their investment, we have begun an active
exchange with their international network that will be particularly
helpful to us in our commercialization efforts. I am very much looking
forward to our cooperation."