Singapore’s vision is to be the leading international biomedical sciences cluster, the Biopolis of Asia, a vision shared by many biomedical sciences companies which have chosen Singapore as a preferred base for their business activities in the region. These companies recognise the need to improve R&D productivity and address unmet healthcare needs in Asia.
Currently, seven of the top 10 pharmaceutical and all of the top 10 medical technology companies have their regional headquarters in Singapore, from which they drive their business expansion into Asia. These global leaders include AB SCIEX, Baxter International, Becton Dickinson, BIOTRONIK, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoya Surgical Optics, Life Technologies, Medtronic, Novartis, Siemens Medical Instruments and Takeda.
More than S$1.49 billion is spent on biomedical R&D in Singapore annually. Currently, close to 7,000 researchers carry out biomedical sciences R&D in more than 50 companies, our world-class universities, and 30 public-sector institutes under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Looking ahead, Singapore has committed S$19 billion in continued support of research, innovation and enterprise activities between 2016 and 2020. Out of the S$19 billion, the health and biomedical sciences sector gets 21%, the largest share, of the funding with S$4 billion.
More than 30 of the world’s leading biomedical sciences companies have chosen Singapore as a home base to drive innovation. At a time when pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses around the world are grappling with declining R&D productivity, Singapore’s integrated research ecosystem allow these companies (including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Takeda) to access multidisciplinary capabilities in a single location, thereby improving R&D decision-making and accelerates drug discovery and development.
Singapore is also reputed for its clinical research and clinical trials management activities in Asia. This has led to many global pharmaceutical brands setting up their regional clinical trial centres in Singapore (including Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD and Novartis), as well as several contract research organisations managing regional clinical trials from the city-state (including Covance, Quintiles and ICON).
Riding the trend towards increased medical technology innovation in Asia to harness the region’s opportunities, many leading companies now carry out R&D in areas such as value engineering and product development for regional and global markets from Singapore. They include Becton Dickinson, Biosensors, Hill-Rom, Siemens Medical Instruments, Menicon, Thermo Fisher, Welch Allyn, AB Sciex, Vela Diagnostics, Qiagen, as well as local start-ups like HealthSTATS and Veredus Laboratories.