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Clearbridge Health announces planned spin-off for cancer diagnostics associate

CATALIST-listed Clearbridge Health has announced plans to spin off a cancer diagnostics associate which has just clinched fresh funds ahead of its bourse debut, the medical technology company said on Thursday.

The latest injection of some S$6.6 million will be used for business expansion, technology development, talent recruitment and listing-related expenses to develop end-to-end cancer diagnostic tests, according to Clearbridge.

An initial public offering (IPO) of 39.7 per cent-owned Clearbridge BioMedics is slated for the fourth quarter of 2018, in a proposed listing that The Business Times understands is intended to take place on Singapore's Catalist board.

The pre-IPO funding, which Clearbridge said came from both oncology medical professionals as well as healthcare and biotechnology investors, will involve equity stakes in Clearbridge BioMedics. The liquid biopsy solutions company is behind the proprietary ClearCell FX System that detects circulating tumour cells in blood.

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Clearbridge founder Johnson Chen, who is also chairman of Clearbridge BioMedics, said in a media statement: "This pre-IPO funding will enable us to accelerate our growth and create a differentiated, cost-effective and sustainable model of diagnostic solutions in Asia."

Still, Clearbridge's board noted in its announcement on the Singapore Exchange website that "the potential listing is at a preliminary stage and is dependent on, inter alia, the results of preparatory work to be undertaken and requisite approvals/consents from the relevant regulatory authorities being obtained".

The company has not appointed any professional parties to advise on the potential listing. "Accordingly, there is no assurance that the potential listing will proceed in due course," the board said. "The company will announce any material development on the potential listing as and when appropriate."

Shareholders and other investors were reminded to exercise caution when dealing in Clearbridge securities and were told that they should consult their stockbrokers, bank managers, solicitors, accountants or other professional advisers if in doubt about the actions that they should take.

Clearbridge BioMedics is a spin-off from the National University of Singapore and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Smart) research centre, while the parent Clearbridge company started life as a high-technology incubator backed by the National Research Foundation and the Enterprise Singapore government agency.

Clearbridge made its IPO debut in December 2017 at an offer price of S$0.28. It most recently reported a net loss of S$1.49 million for the three months to March 31, 2018 on a revenue of S$377,000.

The counter closed up by half a Singapore cent, or 1.41 per cent, at S$0.36, before the announcement.