Singapore’s biomedical strategy

Kevin Tan, Assistant Head of the Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology Sciences group with Singapore’s Economic Development Board spoke Monday about Singapore’s biomedical strategy and the interrelationship between health care delivery and research. The country’s overall strategy to be a biomedical hub strengthens its position as a medical travel destination, especially for complex procedures and treatments.

Singapore is pursuing a holistic strategy comprising small molecule pharmaceuticals, biotech drugs and biotechnology, medical devices, and services, and spanning the value chain from discovery through manufacturing. The country has attracted scores of well-known international companies in each of the sectors. Large pharma companies including GSK, Lilly and Novartis have continued to expand their operations within Singapore after their initial investments paid off.

The government is taking a three-pronged approach:

  1. Human capital development — developing and attracting talent with scholarships for PhDs, post-doc programs, and global outreach
  2. Development of intellectual capital — through public R&D spending, spin-offs based on public R&D, and from industry-sponsored R&D by international and local companies
  3. Development of industrial capital –through direct investment in infrastructure, promotion of investment, and equity investment (there is a government backed VC firm, for example)

Singapore is emphasizing the translation of R&D into commercial products, a worthy objective that has proved elusive elsewhere. The country’s small size, deliberate strategy and history of pulling together to tackle major initiatives may help it succeed.

July 23, 2007

3 thoughts on “Singapore’s biomedical strategy”

  1. Below is a discribtion of a marketing campaign launched in the United States by Novartis.

    Novartis has put together a brilliant marketing campaign to increase sales. The idea; to get kids on Ritalin through school psychologists and psychiatrists was pure genius. They came up with disorders; attention-deficit-disorder, mood-disorder, obsessive compulsive-disorder, anxiety-disorder, conversion-disorder, panic-disorder, phobic-disorder and on and on. All you have to do is hyphen disorder onto an emotion or a disability, whip up a drug to handle it and presto, the money pours in.
    And now the other drug companies are copying Novartis.
    The best thing is that these new clients as they get older will need more and more Ritalin, as it is basically an amphetamine and most will be on some form of it for the rest of their lives; thus insuring growth. And now I see that they are working on getting babies on it. Wow! Will the brilliance ever cease?
    The outrageous allegations that Ritalin is a starter drug that creates addicts that then do street crime are just spurious charges done by people who are jealous of the money that Novartis and their investors make.

  2. The Singapore Sling isn’t just a cocktail anymore. The city-state at the tip of the Malay Peninsula is now touting its medical services, including joint-replacement surgery, to patients around the world by the improvement related medical research and technology.

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