East Ventures, a pioneering sector-agnostic venture capital firm that has supported over 250 companies in Southeast Asia, supports the launch of the Biomedical & Genome Science Initiative (BGSi), an initiative of Indonesia’s Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) to provide precision medicine services for the community. This inauguration occurred on Sunday, 14 August 2022, at the Eijkman Building, Dr. RSUPN. Cipto Mangunkusumo (RSCM).
“We congratulate the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia for this new achievement in supporting the advancement of the healthcare industry in Indonesia. We hope that East Ventures’ participation as a donor can play a role in bringing the health industry and various medical research in Indonesia towards a better direction,” said Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner of East Ventures.
BGSi is the first national initiative program created by the Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, to develop a more accurate treatment for society through the use of technology to collect genetic information (genome) from humans and pathogens such as viruses and bacteria or can be called the whole genome sequencing (WGS). Previously, the WGS method itself had been used and played an essential role in the prevention of COVID-19 in Indonesia.
“This technology will be very crucial for public health. Through genome sequencing biotechnology, our ability to identify the source of disease and the way we treat it will be highly defined and personalized. It is good for us to know the exact diagnosis and treatment. For example, cough, although the symptoms are the same in each person, the disease can be different. With BGSi, we can identify the illness faster so we can immediately treat it,” said Mr. Budi.
Through BGSi, the WGS method will be used for research and development of treatment in six major disease categories, namely: cancer, infectious diseases, brain and neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, genetic disorders, and aging. In its implementation, BGSi was carried out in seven vertical hospitals, namely RSCM, National Brain Center Hospital (RS PON), RSPI Sulianto Saroso, Persahabatan Central General Hospital, Dharmais Cancer Hospital, RSUP Sardjito, to Prof I.G.N.G. Ngoerah Hospital.
The Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, and the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Muhadjir Effendi, were also present at the launching of BGSi, encouraged the continuous improvement and expansion of this positive initiative through collaboration with foreign tech investors.
“This is the result of our visit to China 7 months ago in collaboration with the Beijing Genomic Institute, and today is the start of its implementation in Indonesia. Even then, we will foster cooperation with other countries such as Abu Dhabi, the G42, and the United States with US Davis University,” said Mr. Luhut.
“Hopefully, this forward-looking initiative will accelerate our human development index,” said Mr. Effendi.
As a venture capital firm that invests in various digital companies, East Ventures believes in the importance of channeling support to the healthcare industry. This is evident through East Ventures’ investments in its healthtech portfolios, including Nalagenetics and Nusantics. Both have created innovations in biotech, starting from research on adverse drug reactions, beauty solutions, and also in making the first local COVID-19 test kits, part of Indonesia PASTI BISA initiative by East Ventures, which are now widely used in Indonesia.
“Coinciding with the celebration of the 77th Indonesian Independence Day this month, we believe that this initiative will be a real testament to our collective effort with relevant parties in making Indonesia as a nation rise faster and recover stronger,” concluded Roderick.