Singapore-based molecular diagnostics company, Nova Satra Dx wins Start Up Excellence Award at the British Chamber of Singapore’s Annual Business Awards

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Mr Kane Black, CEO of Nova Satra Dx (centre) receiving the award at the 18th Annual Business Awards

At the recently concluded British Chamber of Commerce Singapore’s 18th Annual Business Awards, Singapore-based molecular diagnostics start-up NovaSatra Dx won the prestigious “Start-Up Excellence Award.”

Acknowledged as a prestigious commendation by supporting partners such as the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Department of International Trade (DIT), the Annual Business Awards are the longest-running awards initiative by an international chamber of commerce in Singapore, recognising innovation, the positive impact and achievements of businesses, leaders and entrepreneurs in Singapore.

The judging panel of the British Chamber Annual Business Awards noted that “Homegrown molecular diagnostic company, Nova Satra Dx’s game-changing medtech innovations have significant positive impact and are transformational.”

Kane Black, Chief Executive & Co-Founder of Nova Satra said: “We are delighted to have been chosen for this prestigious award that recognizes our strive for innovation that has the potential to make positive impact on public health across Asia”

On this occasion, we interviewed the CEO of Nova Satra, Mr. Kane Black, to know more about his company and their innovations.

About Nova Satra Dx 

Nova Satra Dx is a molecular diagnostics company headquartered in Singapore. The company is committed to empowering patients and physicians through the research, development, and commercialization of novel blood-based diagnostic tests. These tests provide rapid and accurate detection of cancer using Asian-specific epigenetic biomarkers. Based on its clinically validated NovoTect™ technology developed by the University of Oxford.

The epigenetic regulation mechanisms deployed by the NovoTect™ technology is instrumental in the creation of the right micro-environment for gene expression in response to particular signaling pathways and forms a defining context for all the other regulatory steps described previously as part of epigenetic/gene expression, such as DNA methylation, histone modifications, controlled rate of transcription, and RNA processing, including subsequent protein expression.

As the earliest and defining level of regulation of gene activity, it offers the most informative and reliable diagnostic read-out for any abnormal and deregulated gene expression under pathological conditions.

The company is developing a pipeline of molecular diagnostics tests across a range of cancer indications. Our lead test NovoTect™ BC is a revolutionary non-invasive diagnostic screening test for breast cancer.

How is NovoTect™ technology going to address the unmet medical needs in cancer diagnosis? Is there any company addressing this issue, specifically for Asian patient populations?

The vast majority of drugs and diagnostics have been developed in the West and by default on Caucasian cohort, potentially reducing the efficacy when introduced to patients of Asian descent. Nova Satra is unique in this regard in that we are an Asian company developing tests for an Asian population.

Furthermore, barriers to regular screening are widespread across Asia resulting in comparatively low screening participation rates. In the case of breast cancer, governments across the region have been investing in programs and awareness and yet rates remain stubbornly low. Reasons are often due to cultural beliefs, the invasive and often painful nature of mammography, concerns regarding radiation etc. Furthermore, the prevalence of dense breast tissue, in Asian women, makes breast cancer screening more difficult and potentially increases the risk of breast cancer. NovoTect™ BC is not affected by such limitations.

Nova Satra believes that the NovoTect™ test has the potential to bring further patients into screening participation programs, who are currently not undergoing any form of screening, thereby potentially saving lives through the early detection of cancer.

Has NovoTect™ been launched? How do you plan to bring it to the market- will it be available to individuals or to healthcare providers? 

Nova Satra’s lead test, for breast cancer – NovoTect™ BC will be launched early 2018 across Asia and will be available through healthcare providers. The company has begun appointing third-party laboratory partners across Asia including the company’s shareholder partner Genting Group’s laboratory – Genting Laboratory Services in Malaysia and AceCGT in Hong Kong.

Has NovoTect™ received regulatory approvals yet?

The NovoTect™ BC breast cancer test is currently going through the regulatory approval process across Asia. Our first market, due to a shorter regulatory pathway will be Hong Kong, followed by Malaysia and Singapore and then the rest of Asia.

Can you share any insights about the molecular diagnostics industry in Singapore and in Asia?

Molecular Diagnostics is one of the most dynamic and transformative areas in the field of diagnostics, leading to advances in treatment and research that are revolutionizing healthcare across a wide range of diseases and conditions and is recognized as the future of diagnostics. This combined with major pharma no longer having a monopoly on such disruptive technologies and the cost of developing such technologies having exponentially declined through collaborations, co-development and licensing, provides opportunities for entrepreneurs anywhere to developing game-changing and potentially life-saving technologies.

The team Novo Satra, celebrating the win yesterday