• Mumbai
  • 5 March 2014
  • Interviews
  • By Monali

Asia's synonym to Biocluster: Singapore

As the newly appointed international director (Asia-Pacific), Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB), Mr Koh Jin Hoe, for the first time exclusively talks to BioSpectrum about the pharmabio industry and the transformation over the couple of years


Mr Koh Jin Hoe, international director (Asia-Pacific), Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB).

1. How has the pharmabio industry in Singapore grown over the years?

Koh Jin Hoe: At present, more than 30 of the world's leading biomedical sciences companies such as Pfizer, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Takeda maintain a significant presence in Singapore, which speaks strongly of the sector's growth. The biomedical sciences (BMS) industry has rapidly grown to become the fourth pillar of Singapore's economy. Since 2000, BMS manufacturing output has increased by nearly five-fold from $6 billion in 2000 to $29.4 billion in 2012.

In less than five years, Singapore has become home to nine biologics manufacturing facilities, including two latest investments by Novartis and Amgen, amounting to USD$500mil and USD$200mil respectively. Singapore has committed S$16.1 billion in continued support of research, innovation and enterprise activities between 2011 and 2015. Out of the S$16.1 billion, S$3.7 billion (23%) is allotted to enhancing the existing biomedical R&D infrastructure.

2. What kind of progress has been achieved in the field of clinical research in Singapore?

Singapore has made significant progress in translational and clinical research. We currently have three Investigational Medicine Units dedicated for early-phase trials in public hospitals. The Singapore Clinical Research Institute, for example, focuses on supporting later-stage trials and bears the responsibility to develop Clinical Research Networks (CRN) in Asia-Pacific to support multi-site, multi-national clinical trials. These facilities will in turn support the growing community of clinician scientists in Singapore.


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