Out-Law News 1 min. read

Singapore aims to become ‘investment hub for global diagnostics industry’

A new ‘Diagnostics Development Hub’ (DxD) launched in Singapore will encourage public-public and public-private partnerships to invest in making the country a global leader in biomedical research and development (R&D) , the government has said.

The hub, “will invest in developing devices that will make it faster and easier for healthcare professionals to make quicker diagnoses and deliver a better treatment outcome for patients”, the government said.

The hub, which is led by the commercial arm of Singapore’s Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), “will bring together clinicians, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and industry professionals onto a common platform to fast track the development of clinically-validated, market-ready diagnostic tools and solutions”, the government said. “Through their participation, diagnostics ecosystem partners will gain experience and acquire the knowledge of taking diagnostic products through the process of validation, testing, regulation and, finally marketing and commercialisation.”

Multi-nationals such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Thermo Fisher Scientific, along with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, are among a number of partnerships that are already supporting the hub initiative, the government said.

Overseas firms supporting the initiative include South Korean SME Gencurix. Managing director Lorenzo Kim said the hub is helping his company to “successfully take the first step” towards establishing a diagnostics research and development service centre in Singapore.

DxD chief executive officer Sidney Yee said: “The hub is committed to embrace a borderless one-Singapore approach to catalyse the growth of the industry so as to establish Singapore as a global hub for diagnostics innovation and development.”

Yee said: “Singapore is both a gateway to the rest of Asia, as well as a channel to access the international markets.”

A*Star oversees 18 biomedical and physical sciences and engineering research entities centred in the country’s twin research hubs of  'Biopolis' and 'Fusionopolis'. Biopolis is home to biomedical research institutes and private research organisations and Fusionopolis is a “self-sustaining environment”, which A*Star said makes the zone an idea “test-bedding site” for new technologies.

According to A*Star’s Science, Technology & Enterprise Plan for 2015 (92-page / 4.34 MB PDF), “the long term aim is for Singapore to be among the most research intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world in order to create high value jobs and prosperity for Singaporeans”. The agency’s commercialisation arm, Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, manages the intellectual properties resulting from A*Star research.

Singapore’s National Research Foundation has said that since the launch of the country’s first national technology plan in 1991, total R&D expenditure has increased from about 760 million Singapore dollars (SGD) ($610m) in 1991 to SGD 6.5 billion ($5bn) in 2010.

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