HK-Based Bio Tech Startup Vitargent Closed Series A Round
Vitargent Biotechnology, an incubatee under Hong Kong Science and Technology Park’s Incu-Bio Programme, Completes Finance Deal With World’s Leading Venture Capital Group WI Harper.
Heavy-weight Sino-American investment guru Peter Liu named Chairman
Vitargent (International) Biotechnology Ltd. (“Vitargent”), a home-grown biotechnology startup, today announced the successful completion of A Round financing led by WI Harper Group (“WI Harper”), the world’s leading venture capital firm. The deal will enable Vitargent to further its bio testing technology, providing revolutionary new standards for product safety testing in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and other industries. Mr Peter Liu, Founder and Chairman of WI Harper, will become the Chairman of Vitargent and lead the company in promoting bio testing to policy makers and industry leaders around the globe, redefining the industry safety standards and creating a world of high quality and safety.
“I hope our global experience and network would help Vitargent take off and let more people benefit from its advanced testing technology,” said Mr Liu. “WI Harper is committed to providing assistance to talented entrepreneurs. When selecting investment projects, we don’t just look at the numbersand financial performance, we consider the entire entrepreneurial process, including the team, business fields and the sustainability of their products, which are all key success factors for startups. Vitargent boasts world-leading bio technology and a strong team, their testing solutions can be applied in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and many other industries for safety testing, total quality management, as well as standards and certification checks, which meet the global markets’demands for high product safety and quality. We are very confident about Vitargent’s prospects in the global market.”
“We are glad to have WI Harper’s support, which is a great recognition of Vitargent’s business direction and long-term dedication to bio- testing innovation and commercialisation.” said Mr Eric Chen, Founder, Vitargent. “Over the past years, WI Harper has successfully backed hundreds of entrepreneurs. It is a globally recognised top VC firm. We are deeply honoured that Mr Peter Liu agreed to become our Chairman. He is a globally recognised venture capital pioneer who has nurtured dozens of listed companies and holds directorships at several influential organisations (including the Committee of 100 and the World Economic Forum).
With decades of experience and an extensive network in both industry and governments around the world, Peter can surely grow our business at warp speed, opening up new markets for Vitargent and introducing our world-leading bio testing technology to different parts of the world,” said Mr Chen.
WI Harper will assist Vitargent in expanding its technology to China and overseas markets with the aim of gaining the support and recognition from local government bodies and industries, andproviding a comprehensive quality management, product testing and certification for enterprises in different fields. The ultimate goal is to gradually develop Vitargent’s technology into an industry-recognised standard for product safety testing.
Vitargent, which established its research base at Hong Kong Science Park in 2011, aspires to build a better world with quality products under the vision of “Safer Products, Better World”. Vitargent brings home a number of local and international awards with its first-in-the-world transgenic medaka and zebrafish fish embryo toxicity (FET) test technologies (see appendix), which has a proven capacity to screen over 1,000 toxins at one time. The technologies can be applied to product safety testing across various fields including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and water quality. Compared to traditional product safety tests, which usually only test five to 10 toxins at a time,Vitargent’s technologies are much more comprehensive and cost-effective. By applying together with the traditional chemical analysis, this new testing system can increase the safety standards from 30 points to 80 points. This is a revolutionary and effective way of product safety testing and quality assurance. Currently, Vitargent’s customer portfolio includes leading testing laboratories, government bodies, multinational skincare and cosmetics companies, as well as food companies. Vitargent recently developed a testing method which combines the transgenic medaka and zebrafish FET test targeting bad quality edible oil (or refer to as “gutter oil”). Vitargent targets to have this method introduced to the Taiwan, Asia and international markets soon.
“With global governments and consumers’ rising concerns on product safety, we expect to see increase in demand of product safety tests, quality management and certifications,” said Mr Chen. “The market size of the testing and certification industry is already more than USD100 billion with annual growth of over 10%. Under the leadership of Peter, Vitargent is very confident that this ‘Made in Hong Kong’ innovative technology can be introduced to more countries and markets, achieving the company’s two missions: contribute to community and create substantial return for shareholders(Do well and Do good).”
Vitargent is now cultivating transgenic medaka and zebrafish at Hong Kong Science Park’s laboratory. The company is also planning to establish fish farms in Europe and mainland China, to meet the company’s global expansion plan.
About Vitargent (International) Biotechnology Ltd.
Vitargent was established in 2010 under Hong Kong Science and Technology Park’s Incu-Bio Programme and under the mission of “Safer Products, Better World”. Vitargent’s R&D team includes talents from Cambridge, MIT, Stanford University, The Univeristy of Hong Kong, and some important laboratories and institutions from mainland China. The R&D team is either master’s graduates or PhD graduates. The company’s international scientists committee composes of leading scientists from the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. These committee members join together to come up with the establishments and promotion of various international standards.
Vitargent is an award-winning company with both local and international recognitions, which include HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards, Lee Kwan Yew Global Business Competition, Korean Woman Inventor Award, Hong Kong industrial Awards -technology achievement, and The Economist Innovation and Awards Summit. Vitargent is also listed as “Technology showcase Programme over the past decade” by the Hong Kong government.
Our vision is to combine our scientific expertise with social responsibility to improve consumer product safety and protect our environment; and to help our clients to differentiate safer and better products from the competitors with innovative science, affordable price and great service. In 2013, Vitargent received the international standard ISO17025 Accreditation, and is the only test centre in Asia that can provide fish embryo toxicity (FET) testing with officially recognised testing results. It is now serving international testing organisations, world’s leading cosmetics groups, food andbeverage conglomerates and various government departments all over the world. With the firm support of these groups, the technology is being developed as regional and international standards.
About WI Harper Group
WI Harper Group manages eight Funds and is the first company to engage in the venture capital business in Asia. It is also among the first foreign ventures to invest in mainland China. WI Harper Group is committed to building a bridge of capital, technology and management experience between the US and Greater China, thereby providing value-added services to companies at mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong through a unique mode. It focuses on early and early expansion investing of technology-driven companies, with main investment areas covering Internet and wireless, semiconductors, digital media, health care, clean technology, advanced materials and other sectors. Its portfolio consists of over 150 fast growing information technology, health care and clean technology companies who are serviced by dedicated investment professionals located in Beijing, Taipei and San Francisco. More information is available at http://www.wiharper.com.
About Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation
Comprising of Hong Kong Science Park, InnoCentre and Industrial Estates, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body dedicated to advancing innovation and technology for Hong Kong. Established in May 2001, HKSTP has been driving the development of Hong Kong into a regional hub for innovation and growth in several focused clusters including Biotechnology, Electronics, Green Technology, Information Technology & Telecommunications, and Precision Engineering.
We enable science and technology companies to nurture ideas, innovate and grow through the support provided by our R&D facilities, infrastructure, services and programmes which consist of full service incubation programmes for technology start-ups, and market focused laboratories to leverage on state-of-the-art technologies to undertake transformation and advance to new stage of developments.
Technology businesses benefit from our specialised R&D services in Hong Kong Science Park; design enterprises can find design-related innovation at InnoCentre, and skill-intensive businesses are being served by our three industrial estates at Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Yuen Long.
More information about HKSTP is available at www.hkstp.org.
Check here for Hong Kong’s latest startup events.