A sour taste

After a protracted legal battle, it’s still not clear whether government’s Technology Innovation Agency will ever see anywhere close to the sum it was expecting for investment in a multimillion-dollar biotech startup.

23 June 2022

Mark Fyvie, VX Pharma. Photo: Karolina Komendera

When it was acquired in 2015 by Swiss pharma giant Roche for a rocketing $445 million, biotech firm Kapa Biosystems was hailed as South Africa’s biggest startup exit, a real champagne moment, second only to Mark Shuttleworth’s $575 million exit of Thawte in 1999 to Verisign.

Then the government’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) cried foul, claiming it had been ripped off to the tune of hundreds of millions of rands.

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