Morphosis: creating and nurturing biotech start-ups in Singapore

We understand that early-stage biotech companies do not have it easy. It is a long road from pre-clinical research to bringing a product or treatment to market. With high costs to advance a new drug or therapy and extensive work needed to obtain regulatory approval, securing investment is critical but often difficult.

Esco Ventures X have launched a fellowship programme called ‘Morphosis’ to create and nurture biotech startups. The purpose of this programme is to help aspiring bio-entrepreneurs to carve, refine and pursue their biotech innovations, in a VC environment.

The initial programme is six months long and the inaugural group consists of three fellows. In this first phase the fellows receive mentoring and training as they work to develop a feasible venture to present at the end of the six month period. Successful ventures will be incubated by Esco Ventures X over the next 12 months and projects that meet the requirements after this stage will be incorporated as a new biotech company.

Training is a core element of phase 1 and Richard Clegg, partner in our life sciences team, will be providing biotech specific IP advice to the fellows on 1 November. Patents are crucial to the success of biotech startups as in the absence of a tangible product, would-be investors consider the potential for future commercial revenue if the product or treatment makes it to market. The decision of whether or not to invest, and the scale of any investment, is based on how well the technologies that form the core of a company have been protected and this is where patents come in.

Ronne Yeo PhD, Associate at Esco Ventures, explained the idea behind the name Morphosis. “The team here came up with the name and the tagline ‘transforming ideas to innovation’. Morphosis aims to attract brilliant minds from academia, and over the course of the programme, we help to morph their minds towards the venture capital path. Our goal is to train bio-entrepreneurs and seed biotech platform startups into the Singapore ecosystem.

Find out more about Morphosis.