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Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Singapore moves forward with a plan to diversify its life science investment with projects in biologics and drug discovery.
Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development represent an important part of Singapore's economic base. Several major projects were announced in 2007 as Singapore, along with Ireland and Puerto Rico, compete for investment in the life sciences.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing output
The biomedical sciences (BMS) sector in Singapore is a growing part of the country's economy and is the target of government initiatives to attract investment. "Today, Singapore's BMS industry contributes to slightly over 6% of Singapore's gross domestic product," says Keat-Chuan Yeoh, executive director of the Biomedical Science Board at the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the government agency charged with business development. "In 2006, the BMS industry did extremely well. The manufacturing output grew strongly to S$23 billion (US $16 billion), an unprecedented 30% increase over 2005. The manufacturing output has grown almost fourfold from the year 2000, when we launched the BMS initiative."
In breaking down the BMS sector in 2006, of the total S$23 billion (US $16 billion) in manufacturing output, nearly S$21 billion (US$14.6 billion) was for pharmaceuticals and the balance was for medical technology. Manufacturing data for 2007 is scheduled for release in early 2008.
The BMS initiative was launched in 2000 to establish this sector as the fourth part of Singapore's industry cluster, alongside electronics, chemicals, and engineering, explains Yeoh. "This development was a natural extension of Singapore's capabilities in chemicals and electronics manufacturing," he says.
Key projects in 2007
In 2007, several major projects were announced according to the Singapore EDB in pharmaceutical manufacturing and R&D. These included:
Key projects in 2006
These investments follow several major projects in 2006 as identified by the Singapore EDB. These projects include:
Biotechnology investment in Singapore
As the pharmaceutical industry shifts its emphasis to biologics, Singapore is also keeping pace to build its biopharmaceutical base. "Having established a reputation as one of the world's most competitive and trusted sites for producing small-molecule-based active pharmaceutical ingredients and final dosage forms, Singapore is now aggressively pursuing biologics manufacturing investments, especially since biologics is anticipated to be a key growth driver for the global industry," say Yeoh. "We are quickly building up a critical mass of biologics manufacturing investments and expect to maintain this momentum as we attract more companies to set up such manufacturing facilities there." He points to five major biologics manufacturing investments (Lonza, GSK Biologicals, Genentech, and Novartis) that total more than US$1.5 billion.
Yeoh points out the first phase of Singapore's BMS initiative, which was from 2000-2005, focused on putting key building blocks by establishing core capabilities in biomedical research and introducing human and industrial capital. "For the next phase (2006-2010), we are building on this foundation and strengthening our capabilities in translational and clinical research to bring discoveries from the bench to the bedside and the marketplace and ultimately improve human healthcare," says Yeoh. That effort involves further expansion of its industry R&D base and an increase in the number of companies undertaking the discovery and development of new drugs and medical devices in Singapore.
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