Six leading biotech companies in Hong Kong

With a land area of ​​1,108 square kilometers, Hong Kong is one of the smallest countries in Asia. The country, which is dependent on international trade and finance, has a market for healthcare projected reached $67.26 million this year.

The country, home to more than 250 biopharmaceutical companies, is a popular initial public offering (IPO) destination for the sector.

But since the start of the pandemic, the country has had a hard time attracting talent to its cities, due to strict Covid regulations, according to a report by Bloomberg.

However, the country’s medtech industry, which has fluctuated with respect to its demand over the past two years, is advancing further with the emergence of 3D printing and robotics technologies.

As the country’s biotech industry will grow gradually over the next few years, here are six companies in Hong Kong that are paving the way in biotechnology.

ALiA BioTech

Founded over ten years ago in Fo Tan, Hong Kong, ALiA BioTech specializes in molecular diagnostics and has developed a Point of Care platform that can perform an immunoassay within 15 minutes. Like this test, the company also sells the Covid 19 rapid antigen test, which is a self-testing kit.

Additionally, the company’s Lab on Chip platform uses microfluidic technology to create biochips that offer easy diagnosis without the need for a laboratory. Immunoassay tests can measure the presence of certain proteins for the diagnosis of various diseases.

Another technology that is the focus of biotech is the BioChip. The BioChip is capable of detecting a number of pathogens that cause respiratory diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, RSV, Streptococcus, Influenza A and Influenza B as well as sexually transmitted and gastrointestinal diseases.

Avants Meat

As food technology companies join the race against factory farming to develop cell-farmed meat, Avant Meats is a Hong Kong-based biotech that offers an alternative to conventional farm-raised meat methods, particularly fish.

The first step is to isolate a sample of cells from the fish, which is then given nutrients to help the cells grow in the medium. The company owns Avie, which is its ready-to-cook cultivated fish product. To promote the scaling up of its farmed fish products, Avant Meats partnered with the Singapore-based A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) research center to introduce its products to the Singaporean cultured meat market.

In addition, Avant Meats has a skincare line selling Zellulin, a new active ingredient derived from marine proteins with enhanced collagen-like properties. This ingredient promotes anti-oxidation and skin repair – key features that skin care products aim to address. Zellulin can be applied with moisturizers and added to drinks and supplements.

Last year, the company raised $10.8 million in a Series A round led by sustainable development investment firm S2G Ventures.

Animal Husbandry Biotech E

Shine hermetically, commonly known as the black soldier fly, is essential for recycling organic waste and producing animal feed, a characteristic recently discovered. Utilizing the potential of insects in agriculture, E Farm Biotech is invested in overcoming the food supply crisis as well as climate change exacerbated by landfills.

Located in the Sheung Shui district of Hong Kong, E Farm Biotech harvests flies – which have a month-long life cycle. Firms collect insect excrement during the larval stage; after pupation, they stop feeding. Then, through fermentation, insect excrement is produced, which helps revitalize the soil on farms. Insect excrement is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, three important elements in fertilizers.

In addition, the company is also studying how to extract lauric acid from organisms, a possible way to replace fish oil in medicines, and its high protein content can be a nutritional alternative to add to our diet.

Founded in 2018, E Farm Biotech is supported by the Recycling Fund provided by the Hong Kong Government.

Genetic Codex

Located in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, biotechnology company Codex Genetics has developed the CoGenesis platform powered by bioinformatics, to diagnose a wide range of diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. The company’s tests are minimally invasive in that only a saliva sample is required, after which researchers extract DNA to identify certain disease-causing variants.

In the case of cancer gene mutations, in which nearly a third of cancer patients have undergone treatment modifications due to inherited mutations, the company offers an 11 gene test to diagnose breast and ovarian cancer as well as prostate cancer, a nine gene test to detect stomach cancer and a 12 gene test for colorectal cancer. . The test is priced at HKD 4900 ($626.2) excluding the pan cancer test, which is a test of 55 genes for 11 types of cancer, and costs HKD 9000 ($1150).

The company also focuses on the field of metagenomics, namely the study of genetic material extracted from clinical samples of organisms through a sequencing process. Codex Genetics is able to identify pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in patient samples to diagnose infections.

Biotech has raised a total investment of $41,300 from its initial funding round.

Great Bay Bio

Founded in 2019, biotechnology company Great Bay Bio was founded in Sha Tin, a neighborhood in Hong Kong. One of its proprietary technologies is AlfaCell, which combines site-specific integration (SSI) technology and AI-enabled cell selection for cell line development.

Over one hundred million cell lines were screened using AI to create super host cell lines containing hotspots. Later, through recombination-mediated exchange of cassettes, more stable product cell lines were developed. Very fast, this platform has high genetic stability.

The company has also developed the AlfaMedX platform, which leverages AI algorithms such as machine deep learning to develop mammalian and stem cell cell cultures.

This platform is useful for the development of biopharmaceuticals, antibodies for in vitro diagnostics, as well as in the field of synthetic biology to produce cultured meat. Meat is produced by culturing animal cells, which is what the AlfaMedX platform uses. Eliminating the need for farmed animals, the farmed meat industry is worth $246.9 million by 2022 in the US and is set to grow rapidly. The Great Bay Bio platform is contributing to this growth.

The company raised $25 million from investors such as the AEF Greater Bay Area Fund and Alon Capital Ltd in a series A round last year.

Pacific GeneTech

With facilities in the US, Canada and Hong Kong, Pacific GeneTech specializes in vaccine development. The Aegis Vaccine Platform uses recombinant technology to insert bacterial, viral or protozoan genes into microbial vectors. Vectors express these genes by producing specific antigens to induce an immune response.

Unlike conventional vaccines, the Pacific GeneTech platform, which can deliver both live and inactivated forms of bacteria and viruses, provides broad-spectrum cross-protection and can also function as a single dose administration, reducing the need for multiple vaccines. Vaccines can be administered not only by injection but also orally, using a spray.

In addition, the company’s Hercules Adjuvant system is a modified Chitosan adjuvant that can spur immune responses against different antigens. When administered orally, pathogens are targeted, as secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) is released on the mucous membranes. The technology has been licensed to various vaccine manufacturers, and has previously been used to develop the avian coryza vaccine and swine streptococcus suis vaccine. As part of the plan, the company is investigating CPH001, CPH002 and TMH001 which are veterinary vaccines for the treatment of Salmonella, E. coli, necrotic enteritis and Eimeria for administration to poultry, cats and pigs.

Last year, biotech announced positive results from a clinical trial for a cross-protective vaccine targeting Salmonella in pigs, and was found to have significantly improved symptoms such as loose stools and weight loss, especially compared to current commercial vaccines.

Founded in 2019, the company has secured $10 million in funding during one financing round.

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