Ashish Life Sciences (ALS), an Indian agtech startup developing pharmaceuticals for animals, has raised Rs45 crores ($6.3 million) in a round led by the Indian venture arm of Eight Roads, Fidelity’s proprietary investment arm.
Dutch agrifood tech venture firm Anterra Capital, which counts Eight Roads as an investor, also participated in the round, a deal that coincides with ALS’s planned expansion into Europe.
ALS, which launched in 2002 and has not raised external capital until now, will use the funding to scale the business in its current geographies and expand into regulated markets. ALS manufactures a range of veterinary products including Antiparasitics, Ectoparasiticides, NSAIDs, Antibiotics, Antifungal, Antiprotozoal, Tonics and Neutraceuticals across dairy, poultry, equine, bees and companion animals.
Managing director Raujesh Agarrwal formed the business after noticing a lack of Indian companies supplying veterinary products to the export markets, despite the country’s strength in the product development and manufacture of “generics.” Generics are pharmaceutical drugs that use the same chemical substance as previously-patented, and therefore off-limits, drugs. And their share in the market has grown in recent years as branded products increase in price and emerging markets demand more.
ALS now has a 100+ product portfolio with a presence in over 50 countries, and is now planning to expand to regulated markets including Europe, Australia and South Africa, after recently becoming the first veterinary pharmaceuticals company in the country to receive an EU GMP approval for its facility, according to a press release.
The global animal health products market is worth $31 billion, driven by the rising protein consumption demands of an expanding global population and growing pet adoption. But agtech investor focus on animal technologies has historically lagged crop technologies as a “less sexy” part of the ecosystem – approximately $4 billion of venture investment vs $18 billion in the last five years, according to AgFunder estimates.
This year it’s coming into focus, however, including the launch of ReThink’s new Animal Agtech Innovation Summit in San Francisco in March, and Kisaco Research’s new Animal Health Investment event in Boston in April.
Venture development organization TechAccel has focused on animal health for several years now — and CEO Michael Helmstetter recently told AgFunderNews about its strategy for advancing innovation in the space.
Anterra has also underlined its focus on animal health technologies last year appointing two industry veterans as special advisors Michelle Haven and Juergen Horn. Haven comes from global animal health firm Zoetis while Juergen has held senior executive positions at Nexvet Biopharma (acquired by Zoetis in 2017), Novartis Animal Health (acquired by Elanco in 2015) and Elanco.
“This investment embodies Anterra’s focus on backing innovative visionaries who are building the agricultural systems of tomorrow. Ashish Life Science has already established itself as a category leader unlocking new opportunities in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, and we look forward to supporting the business as it expands in Europe,” said Adam Anders, managing partner at Anterra Capital.
Anterra Capital is currently deploying a $200 million agtech fund. Find out more about the strategy here.