Asian Fund for Cancer Research Announces Inaugural BRACE Award Venture Competition Winnerhugil-ip-logo.jpg

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Gastrointestinal Cancer Drug Developer Arbele Receives AFCR Investment Funding

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 8 April 2021 – Arbele has been selected as the winner of the Asian Fund for Cancer Research’s (AFCR) inaugural BRACE Award Venture Competition, a first of its kind program for early stage oncology technology companies located in Asia or focused on cancers prevalent among Asian communities. As a result of its win, the Hong Kong-based company has received US$300,000 in AFCR investment.

Arbele’s BRACE Award Venture Competition win is the result of a rigorous review and evaluation process led by two blue ribbon committees convened by AFCR. One committee, in fall 2020, judged the start-up and its tumor-fighting technology as among the strongest of eight semi-finalists in a 6 November event; and the other committee, in winter 2020/2021, determined the company as most likely to make a difference for cancer patients and produce a positive return on investment from among the prior-chosen finalists.

BRACE Award Venture Competition winners can apply AFCR’s investment toward obtaining critical research data and pre-clinical results, as well as attract larger, follow-on investors. Such benefits give participating start-ups a much better chance of delivering technologies likely and able to benefit cancer patients. While future positive returns to AFCR on its US$300,000 investment will be applied by the non-profit organization toward its cancer research funding and education programming. 

“The BRACE Award Venture Competition is making a real difference in funding not only early stage, risk-taking companies in Asia that are battling cancer, but also start-ups that are tackling Asia-prevalent forms of the disease,” stated Arbele Chief Executive Officer John Luk, DMedSc. “Arbele’s journey, including starting from invention at the University of Hong Kong and entering into clinical trials at Queen Mary Hospital, fits both criteria, and we look forward to continued partnership with AFCR.”

“It was a pleasure to represent Arbele throughout the BRACE Award Venture Competition process,” noted Chief Development Officer Dennis Wong, MD. “The program and its committees, investment and other benefits have already helped further develop our company and the application of our technology in the fight against cancer.”

“With the BRACE Award Venture Competition and infusion of investment into its winner, AFCR aims to raise awareness of the importance of accelerating commercialization of cancer research innovations that could save patients’ lives,” said Asian Fund for Cancer Research Chief Executive Officer Sujuan Ba, Ph.D. “We also hope to build up critically needed ecosystems helping life sciences entrepreneurs throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

“The BRACE Award Venture Competition is an important addition to our region’s cancer technology and biomedical industry environment, fostering ideas and approaches on the cutting edge of research,” expressed AFCR Chairman of the Board Gary Wong, a partner of Hugill & Ip Solicitors. “Few sources are willing to invest in high risk, pre-clinical start-ups and, through the BRACE program, our organization is proud to be in the lead.”

The National Foundation for Cancer Research and AIM-HI Accelerator Fund are founding partners of the BRACE Award Venture Competition. Inaugural partners are Hugill & Ip Solicitors, Goodwin and the Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization. Applications are now open for the 2021 iteration of the event, the winner of which will also receive US$300,000 in AFCR investment.

Learn more about the 2021 BRACE Award Venture Competition and apply before 15 June at https://afcr.org/en/brace-award/.

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