East Ventures Doubles Down on Nusantics

7 January, 2021

Nusantics, a genomics technology company, announced today that it has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding led by East Ventures. The startup also welcomed Triawan Munaf as a commissioner.

East Ventures doubled down on Nusantics by leading a follow-up round less than a year after the VC firm led the biotech startup’s seed funding round. The fresh funding is a fruit of Nusantics’ strong growth and its swift response to the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While staying focused on their microbiome research, Nusantics successfully repurposed its capability to develop two generations of Covid-19 PCR test kits that have a high sensitivity and specificity rate, which is able to detect multiple mutation of coronavirus in Indonesia, including the recent United Kingdom strain. The first generation of test-kits were distributed to 19 provinces across Indonesia as a part of the Indonesia PASTI BISA movement in collaboration with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).

In partnership with Bio Farma, Nusantics also successfully developed the second generation of test kits. These second-generation test kits cut testing lead time by making its diagnostic process 3x faster while still proven to be relevant with the latest mutation from the current United Kingdom outbreak. Bio Farma has
mass produced and commercialized both generations of test kits, with a production capacity of 1.5 million test kits per month that can be increased to up to 3 million test kits per month.

Nusantics’ innovative and cutting-edge capability does not stop there. “We plan to develop a new product, a test kit that can detect the COVID-19 virus in a salivary sample. By using saliva, diagnosing COVID-19 will be more efficient, less painful for the end user, and safer for medical practitioners. Saliva will also make infectious and less-infectious detection possible. We are also continuing to optimize our test kits to be compatible with every PCR machine available in Indonesia,” said Revata Utama, CTO of Nusantics.

Since the seed funding announcement, Nusantics has opened Nusantics Hub in Jakarta, the first skin microbiome laboratory in Indonesia that provides testing and consulting services for skin microbiome balance treatment. The startup is also working with multiple companies in other microbiome related research and development projects.

Nusantics will use this fresh funding to further enhance its RnD capability so the company can continue its innovation in the field of microbiome analysis and medical diagnostic kits.

“Our short-term focus is to help fight the pandemic, while our mid-term focus is to deliver a fundamental understanding between microbiome diversity and health. Our ultimate conviction is to contribute to solving the Anthropocene impact by using a microbiome related biodiversity index. Manoeuvring between an economic recession, a pandemic, and Indonesia’s large biodiversity potential is a challenging yet exciting, long journey. We are honoured to have someone like Pak Triawan; visionary, cultured and always striving for a win-win solution. Surely, we will learn a lot from him,” said CEO of Nusantics Sharlini Eriza Putri.

Triawan Munaf, East Ventures Venture Advisor, will bring his experiences and network as a seasoned politician and entrepreneur to Nusantics’ Board of Commissioner.

Triawan is the President Commissioner of Garuda Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s biggest state-owned companies and the nation flag carrier. President Jokowi recently honoured Triawan with Bintang Mahaputra Utama for his service leading the Indonesian Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) as a member of Indonesia cabinet in 2015—2019.

“Indonesia’s rich biodiversity makes it the ‘world’s pharmacy’. We must protect the future of our children and the generations to come by preserving this biodiverse wealth and preventing exploitation for other interests that do not benefit us as a nation. This underlines the urgency to support the growth of startups like Nusantics, who possess expertise in this preservation. I’m very happy to be a part of this significant journey,” said Venture Advisor at East Ventures Triawan Munaf.

On several occasions, the Indonesian government has stated its commitment to encourage companies and universities to expand their research and development capabilities and facilities. East Ventures welcomes the government’s commitment as it opens more opportunities for the best local talent to start biotech driven businesses in Indonesia.