Etana secures undisclosed financing from DEG, East Ventures, other global investors
By Digital News Asia March 21, 2023
- Funds will be channeled towards strengthening product portfolio
- Aims to develop local biopharmaceutical production capabilities
PT Etana Biotechnologies Indonesia (Etana) has secured an undisclosed amount in a new investment round, led by DEG. Other investors include Yunfeng Capital, HighLight Capital and East Ventures.
In a statement, the Indonesian biopharmaceutical company said the funds will be used to further strengthen the pipeline and portfolio of companies in the oncology sector to become producers of raw materials for biological drugs.
It said the company is committed to build production capacity for mammalian cell for monoclonal antibodies drug substance to ensure high local content production and technology capability.
Presently, the company focuses on local biopharmaceutical production for mRNA platforms, proteins and monoclonal antibodies, it added.
Nathan Tirtana, president director of Etana said as an Indonesian biopharmaceutical startup, Etna strives to provide high quality, affordable and innovative biopharmaceutical products to serve patients in Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries.
“We will use the support obtained from the investors to develop local biopharmaceutical production capabilities in line with the policies promoted by the Indonesian government,” he added.
“Etana aims to tackle challenges in oncology and other life-threatening diseases for the Southeast Asian market including vaccines as we believe these biological products can provide better treatment and greatly improve healthcare for the population,” Tirtana said.
Meanwhile, Monika Beck, DEG’s management board member said “as a development finance institution, DEG is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which also includes improving healthcare.”
“By working with Etana, we are helping to ensure that the underprivileged have access to high-quality biopharmaceutical medicines and mRNA vaccines," she added.
Dr. Huang Xiao, managing director of Yunfeng Fund said with the maturation of China's innovative drug industries, the desire to expand coincides with the Southeast Asia market demand for superior biological medicinal products.
“As a leading biopharma, Etana has the ability to manufacture vaccines, including local clinical and registration capabilities, and has formed its own sales force,” he added.
Etana claims to be the first pharmaceutical company in Asean to develop mRNA technology. According to the startup, the MRNA technology is a flexible vaccine development platform that can respond quickly to the need for innovative and flexible biopharmaceutical products for cancer, vaccines, among others.
It said with this technology, the company is able to develop a new vaccine in a fairly short time.
The process from development to clinical trial phase could take approximately two months, it added.
Willson Cuaca (pic), co-founder and managing partner, East Ventures said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of Indonesia's healthcare system, hence urging all stakeholders in the ecosystem to bring quick and innovative solutions for tackling the crisis.
“Etana’s innovative products, including various vaccines, cancer drugs, and other biological products have contributed to strengthening the resilience of the national health system, and we are glad to support the company,” he added.
To date, Etana has produce a Covid-19 vaccine with an mRNA platform and its the mRNA vaccine has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority, a halal provision from the Indonesian Ulema Council's LPOM and a halal certificate from the Halal Product Assurance Agency of the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The company said it will be producing bevacizumab biosimilar, a recombinant humanised anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody drug for cancer patients in Indonesia. It claims the product itself has complied with the drug safety and efficacy standards set by the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority in June 2022, both in terms of product quality and production processes.
Additionally, Etana has produced Erythropoietin, a drug that is needed for dialysis treatment. Moving forward, it plans to develop an adenovirus platform for vaccine production.
The production is intended to meet domestic needs and is planned to be exported to the ASEAN market and several other countries, it said.
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