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Pharma firm Accera secures US$50m in funding led by Wilmar unit; global HQ moves to S'pore

BRAIN health-focused pharmaceutical firm Accera on Thursday announced the first close of an investment round led by new investor Wilmar Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of agribusiness group Wilmar International.

The first close was composed of both equity investment and non-dilutive grants totalling US$50 million, and was secured under Accera's new company name, Cerecin.

The co-investor was from Cerecin’s long-term investor Inventages, the life sciences and healthcare-focused private equity fund backed by the Nestlé Group.

Cerecin said in a press statement that it will use the funds for its global drug development activities as well as the Asia-Pacific launch of Axona, a medical food for the dietary management of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. Discussions with other interested investment groups in the region are ongoing.

Gurpreet Singh Vohra, head of business development at Wilmar International, said that the investment is a strong and strategic opportunity for Wilmar.

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"With a rapidly ageing population in Asia-Pacific, and in particular China, we recognise the increasing importance of dementia and brain health as priorities on healthcare agendas throughout the region. There are many potential synergies between Wilmar, Cerecin and Nestlé that span manufacturing, R&D and commercialisation," he said.

Cerecin, which was founded in 2001, also announced that it will be moving its global headquarters from Colorado, USA to Singapore, where its global clinical operations, manufacturing and commercial teams will be based.

Singapore was chosen for its global infrastructure, world-class science and highly skilled work force, said Cerecin. The Economic Development Board (EDB) has provided support and guidance to the firm as it shifts its headquarters.

Ho Weng Si, director of health care at the EDB, said: “Cerecin’s decision to establish its global headquarters here reflects its confidence in Singapore as the company embarks on its next stage of growth. Through continued investments in biomedical sciences, Singapore has built up strong R&D capabilities to support companies such as Cerecin in developing innovative therapeutics to address global diseases."

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