Medical probiotic leader Bened Biomedical Co., Ltd., which develops and markets neuroactive probiotic products, announced a completed Series A round of fundraising, receiving more than $10 million of capital from two prominent investors, Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF) and JAFCO Asia.
With strategic support from these venture capital partners, Bened expects to rapidly expand its international business, including launching its own brand of products in the US. It will also use this influx of funds to push forward research of new microbial therapeutics and development of FDA-approved live biotherapeutic products (LBP).
Herb Lin, a managing partner at TPTF, first learned of Bened through his fund’s investment in Finch Therapeutics, a microbiome therapy company now listed on the NASDAQ. He found Bened an attractive investment and noted that its unique R&D capability, including its clinical studies and patent portfolio, placed the company at the forefront of the psychobiotic sector. This flourishing industry includes microbiome treatment for many neurological and psychiatric diseases, presenting enormous opportunities for unmet medical needs.
JAFCO Asia’s head managing director in Taiwan, John Lin, praised Bened as a leader in the psychobiotic field, as well as the notoriety of its founder, Professor Ying-chieh Tsai, who is known throughout Asia for his pioneering probiotic research achievements. Lin rarely sees companies in the health food industry with founding teams as solid as Bened’s, believing Tsai’s R&D expertise matched with CEO Frankie Cheng’s strategic insights and international experience are a model for success in creating a biomedical industry unicorn.
JAFCO Asia plans to integrate its own resources with Bened’s assets. It will help the company enter select additional markets and eventually become a leading global brand, along with establishing a high-growth model for Bened in the US healthcare market.
Established in 2015, Bened has since achieved an average annual growth rate of 88%, selling more than 35 million doses of its psychobiotic products in more than 40 markets around the globe. Market research institutions have repeatedly named Bened as a key player in the psychobiotic industry.
Bened’s Cheng noted that the company’s rapid market growth has already proved the potential of its unique products, but a startup still needs a sufficient influx of funds to continue rapid worldwide development. External resources are also necessary to remain competitive. He praised the investors who joined this A round of fundraising for not only providing necessary capital but for also bringing with them new thinking, new partners, and new strategies to help Bened’s global expansion.
Cheng explained that Bened Life Inc., Bened’s US subsidiary, will enjoy TPTF’s support in launching its own D2C (direct-to-consumer) medical probiotic in the US during the second half of this year. This product will comply with FDA regulations for a medical food, providing nutritional support for neurological conditions such as ASD, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease. Its new venture capital partners will allow Bened to continue expansion in many new countries, including Japan, by successfully navigating their respective FDA regulatory requirements and market landscapes. An aggressive goal of increasing current revenue by 15 times within five years has been set.
Bened Biomedical Group currently has four subsidiaries around the world, including KSK Biotech, Bened Biotherapeutics, Bened Life, Inc., and Shanghai Asian Probiotics and Prebiotics Corporation. Its business operations include global ODM and marketing its own brands of products in certain countries.
Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF) is a technology-driven venture capital fund, which was created with the goal to become the bridge between the US and countries in the Pacific Ocean, with a special emphasis on Taiwan where it works closely with Taiwanese companies to build linkages and expand their international market opportunities via our global network. Its investment strategy focuses on guiding fast-growing companies, particularly those developing next-gen technologies in pharmaceuticals, AI/ML, semiconductors, synthetic biology, autonomous driving, and in other leading fields.
ABOUT JAFCO Asia
JAFCO Asia is a leading brand in the venture capital industry in the Asia Pacific region. It was established in 1990 and has offices in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei. With more than US$500 million in funds under management currently (~US$2 billion cumulative to-date), JAFCO Asia has invested in more than 500 companies, of which at least 115 have been publicly listed. JAFCO Asia is a part of JAFCO Group Co., Ltd., one of the largest venture capital companies in Japan (Tokyo Stock Exchange listing TYO 8595) with assets under management exceeding US$4 billion.