Two CityU start-ups listed in ‘Forbes Asia 100 to Watch 2023’

Two biotech start-ups incubated by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been selected for the “Forbes Asia 100 to Watch 2023”, an annual list published by Forbes Asia highlighting small companies and start-ups on the rise across the Asia Pacific region that are targeting underserved markets with new technologies. These CityU start-ups are applying innovative biomedical technologies to address unmet medical needs, from blood-based cancer diagnostics to nanobody-based immunotherapy.

The two start-ups on the list are Cellomics and Jotbody, both founded based on research results developed at CityU and incubated with CityU angel investment. Their selection on the list demonstrates the University’s excellence in life science research and dedication to becoming Asia's leading innovation and entrepreneurship hub.

Professor Freddy Boey Yin Chiang, President of CityU, extended his congratulations to the start-ups.

“CityU aspires to be the leading global university excelling in research and innovation,” he said. “The inclusion of these start-ups reflects the University’s commitment to translating innovative ideas and research achievements into practical applications, positively impacting society.”

Dr Henry Zou Heng (left) and Dr Edwin Yu Wai-kin (right) of Cellomics, PhD graduates supervised by Professor Michael Yang Mengsu.

Cellomics, co-founded in 2017 by Professor Michael Yang Mengsu, Senior Vice-President (Innovation and Enterprise) and Yeung Kin-Man Chair Professor of Biomedical Sciences, and his research team at CityU, has developed a ground-breaking liquid biopsy technology for cancer screening, precision diagnosis, and disease monitoring. Cellomics currently offers a series of NMPA-approved and CE-marked products used in over 40 hospitals in mainland China. Cellomics has received funding through the CityU Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities (TSSSU) and further investment from CityU Enterprises Limited. Cellomics recently received equity investment from Taiping Hong Kong Insurance Innovation and Technology Venture Fund and established a strategic partnership with Taiping General Insurance to develop health service products jointly.

Prof Shi Jiahai (right)and Dr Marco Pirisinu (former senior research fellow at Department of Biomedical Science, CityU) from Jotbody.

Jotbody, co-founded by Professor Shi Jiahai and his student Dr Wei Likun of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at CityU, specialises in developing single-domain antibodies to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer. Jotbody has developed a unique platform technology for preparing high-affinity nanobodies using the immunisation of a small shark species commonly found in Hong Kong. Jotbody received seed funding and angel fund investment from CityU’s HK Tech 300, a large-scale flagship innovation and entrepreneurship programme launched by the University in 2021.

The companies on this year’s “Forbes Asia 100 to Watch”, which received over 550 nominations,   are from 13 Asia-Pacific countries and territories, representing 11 categories, including biotechnology and healthcare, e-commerce and retail, and finance. According to Forbes Asia in its announcement, as funding is harder to come by for start-ups because of rising interest rates and the economic slowdown, the companies on this year's list represent those with the resilience and strong enough prospects to become success stories.

For the “Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list”, please visit: Forbes Asia 100 To Watch 2023