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Pharma and Biotech Companies Plug into Singapore's Integrated Research Network

ATLANTA, May 19 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies are drawing on Singapore's integrated network of public-sector and academic institutes to enhance their R&D productivity, leverage academic insights and diversify risks. Located at the heart of Asia with a population base that is representative of key Asian ethnic groups, Singapore provides a home-base of innovation for companies to test and develop new solutions for Asia and beyond.

Recent announcements of public-private partnerships (PPP) include GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals committing US$1.3 million in vaccine and process development with Singapore's Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI); Lilly Singapore Centre for Drug Discovery (LSCDD) teaming up with Singapore's National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), and the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS) to advance drug discovery using adult brain tumor stem cells.

AstraZeneca announced its collaboration with the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and the National University Hospital (NUH) in pre-clinical and clinical development activities of anti-cancer compounds to build up AstraZeneca's drug development capabilities in Asia; Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) partnered European biotechs - Humalys SAS and Cytos Biotechnology Ltd - to develop antibodies for combating and managing viruses prevalent in Asia including hand, foot and mouth disease.

Massachusetts-based biotech, FORMA Therapeutics, has also set up its first overseas lab in Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU). An emerging biotech company, Forma seeks to integrate important new advances in biology and chemistry to unlock the best targets and pathways that genomic medicine has revealed. FORMA will be collaborating with the Experimental Therapeutics Centre of Singapore (ETC) to co-discover novel therapeutics.

"There is no doubt Asia will soon be the next centre of gravity for the global pharma industry. While the diverse Asian market presents tremendous opportunities, it remains challenging to navigate the region's complexities and harness its opportunities. Singapore provides one of the best locations in Asia, which would enable us to conduct our targeted research, collaborate with public institutions and tap into regional capabilities to supplement our activities," said Dr Steven Tregay, Chief Executive Officer, FORMA Therapeutics.

Public-Sector Resources Allow for End-to-End Research Activities

As companies worldwide seek to develop new therapies and diagnostics to expand their pipeline of innovative products, PPPs represent an effective way for companies to enhance their R&D productivity and accelerate commercialisation efforts.

Singapore's advanced research infrastructure, base of more than 2,800 public sector researchers and business-friendly economic policies are fuelling the rapid growth of PPPs in biomedical sciences. Companies may leverage on Singapore's extensive resources and cross-institutional capabilities to handle complex bench-to-bed and bed-to-bench translational projects. These resources include dedicated clinical bio-imaging research, bio-safety, and early-phase trial facilities. Companies can also tap into the preclinical predictive disease models and platform technologies in genomics and bio-imaging available in Singapore.

Mr. Yeoh Keat Chuan, Executive Director, Biomedical Sciences, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said: "The EDB provides a one-stop shop to link companies to our integrated network of public-sector research and medical institutes. Singapore is also strategically located at the heart of Asia, which makes us an ideal control tower to oversee R&D activities across the heterogeneous landscape in Asia, especially in translational medicine and Asian diseases. Coupled with our pro-business policies and focused efforts to be future-ready, Singapore is well-positioned to be a strategic research partner for the industry and a home-base for innovation in Asia."

Singapore's Biopolis: Asian Home-Base for R&D

The Biopolis, a 2.4 million square-foot research campus, is the icon of Singapore's success in biomedical sciences. Co-locating global companies' research operations with publicly funded research institutes, the Biopolis is imbued with a campus spirit to advance science and human healthcare via cross- disciplinary, public-private collaborations.

In recognition of this significant advantage, numerous companies have chosen to set up their Asian R&D operations at the Biopolis. Emerging biotech companies such as PharmaLogicals and SGAUSTRIA (formerly Austrianova) are located alongside leading pharmaceutical companies. A 400,000 square-foot Phase 2 expansion of the Biopolis launched in 2006 is already fully subscribed. Another 440,000 square feet of research space is being added and will be ready by 2010.

    Recent announcements at the Biopolis include:

    -- Lilly opened its Singapore Centre for Drug Discovery (LSCDD) that will
       coordinate its activities throughout Asia via the new FIPNet (Fully
       Integrated Pharmaceutical Network) model. Staffed by 150 researchers,
       LSCDD is also one of the world's first R&D centres to conduct drug
       discovery through an integrated approach of biomarker discovery
       research, integrated informatics and bioinformatics.
       "At a strategic level, LSCDD is about expanding into Asia to leverage
       talent and to establish collaborations with others to support our drug
       discovery efforts.  Our expanded location now at the Biopolis, where
       other industry peers and academic institutions reside will help us to
       achieve this goal," said Jonathon Sedgwick, Managing Director and Chief
       Scientific Officer, LSCDD.
    -- Schering-Plough opened its first Translational Medicine Research Centre
       (TMRC) that will carry out biomarker discovery and development. The
       TMRC will also coordinate the company's participation in biomarker
       consortia and collaboration with research institutes in Singapore. The
       facility will be staffed by over 50 scientists.
    -- Abbott opened its US$5 million pharmaceutical analytical research
       laboratory, the first in Southeast Asia. This lab will initially employ
       17 researchers. In addition, Abbott announced its Asia-Pacific Research
       and Development Center for Nutrition Science which will also be located
       at the Biopolis. This centre will focus on clinical trials and
       development of nutritional products that are tailored to Asian dietary

About Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

EDB is the lead government agency for planning and executing strategies to enhance Singapore's position as a global business centre and grow the Singapore economy. We dream, design and deliver solutions that create value for investors and companies in Singapore. In so doing, we attract economic opportunities and jobs for the people of Singapore, and help shape our country's economic future.

For more information on how EDB can help in biomedical sciences business and investment, please visit .

    For media enquiries, please contact Ruder Finn.

     Kaele Stock
     Senior Account Executive
     Ruder Finn (New York)
     Tel:  +1-202-276-2471

     Parveen Kaur
     Senior Consultant
     Ruder Finn Asia (Singapore)
     Tel:   +65-9327-8175

SOURCE Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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