Pharma startups – magnet to foreign investors

The first half of this year saw flows of foreign investment from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Singapore, among others, in domestic pharma startups.
Pharma startups – magnet to foreign investors ảnh 1 The healthcare sector in Vietnam has been a "golden land" for domestic and foreign investors. (Photo:
In early 2022, Vietnamese medical device manufacturer USM Healthcare has secured a US$30 million investment from private equity firm EastBridge Partners from the Republic of Korea (RoK).
This is a crucial turning point in USM Healthcare's international integration, helping to expand and strengthen the company’s research and production capabilities to meet domestic and foreign market, USM Healthcare said.
In February 2022, Quadria Capital, Asia’s leading healthcare investment firm, announced the completion of its $90-million investment in Con Cung, a Vietnamese retail chain for maternity and baby-care products.
The fund will be used to support Con Cung’s ambition to launch 2,000 local stores by 2025, expand its product portfolio, as well as develop an all-in-one super app that provides personalised products and services for over five million Vietnamese mothers.
One month later, healthcare startup Jio Health announced that it has completed a $20 million Series B investment led by Singapore-based healthcare investor, Heritas Capital. Other investors in the round include Fuchsia Ventures, Kasikorn Bank Group, and existing investor, Monk’s Hills Ventures.
This funding represents the largest in the company’s history and will build on Jio Health’s aggressive growth, with plans to expand its smart clinics and omni-channel ecosystem across its primary market of Vietnam and pave the way for expansion into regional markets over the coming years.
POC Pharma, a B2B service SaaS, also raised a $10.3-million Series A funding round led by Alven, along with co-investment from seed investors Picus Capital, FEBE Ventures, and FJ Labs who have doubled down their investments.
The funds will be used to accelerate the roll-out of its digital go-to-market solutions for the pharmaceutical industry in emerging countries, in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Such contracts reflect that the health care sector is drawing due attention of both domestic and foreign investors.
According to Fitch Solutions, healthcare spending in Vietnam is expected to reach $23 billion by 2022, while BMI Research's report also shows that the pharmaceutical industry can reach $16.1 billion in size by 2026.
However, the number of startups in this field makes up only 2 percent out of more than 4,000 in Asia, which shows substantial opportunities and potential in the market.
Vu Thanh Long, CEO of eDoctor, pointed out challenges to health care startups, noting that it is very hard to lure investments in this sphere, and it takes time for the startups to earn profits.
Other entrepreneurs shared the view that challenges lie with professional knowledge, market and competition, which, on the other hand, created momentum for businesses to grow further.

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