Having already ridden one health wave, Radek Sali of vitamins outfit Swisse, is jumping on the next big growth opportunity: personalised genetic medicine.
Sali, who sold Swisse to Hong Kong-listed Biostime International for $1.7 billion in 2015, has led a $10 million fundraising round for Melbourne genetics company myDNA, as first reported by Street Talk on Thursday.
The capital injection was made via Sali’s family investment vehicle Light Warrior Group, which is run by ex-Goldman Sachs retail and healthcare banker Adam Gregory.
Sali and Gregory will join the board of myDNA, which sells a testing service to patients. The myDNA test is focused on mapping genes that can affect how a patient responds to medication. By understanding how a person’s genetic make-up might influence side-effects of medication, or a drug’s effectiveness, doctors can better manage their patients’ health.
The $10 million Series A fund-raising by myDNA comes after the company raised a $4.5 million seed round in 2015 that allowed for the initial test to be developed. According to myDNA’s website, more than 3,000 general practitioners have ordered over 12,000 tests so far. Each test costs $149 through partner pharmacies and starts with a simple cheek swab that is sent to myDNA’s lab for analysis.
A number of companies are already well established in the genetic mapping space including 23andme and Genome.One, which is a subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
myDNA chairman Dennis Bastas is well known in the healthcare space as the founder and CEO of Ascent Pharmhealth, which was sold to Actavis in 2012 and as chairman of Arrow Pharmaceuticals, which recently bid alongside KKR for iNova.
Light Warrior styles itself as an investor in companies driving positive socioeconomic change. It has invested in Masterchef judge George Calombaris’ Greek restaurant chain, Jimmy Grants, which recently announced it had self-reported to Fair Work and repaid workers after years of underpayment. Light Warrior has also invested in private college outfit Republica and mobile advertising start-up Unlockd.
This article was published in the Australian Financial Review Online 27 April 2017