Updated on 6 March 2014
Has the government of Singapore launched any special initiatives to support the pharma and healthcare industry in Singapore?
Mr Hoe: The government provides awards to clinician-scientists such as the Singapore Translational Research (STaR) Investigator Award, to recruit and nurture world-class clinician scientists to undertake translational and clinical research in Singapore. Another initiative is the Clinician Scientist Award (CSA), which provides research funding and salary support to enable medical researchers to devote more time to research. More recently, the Singapore government has availed a new Clinical Trial Grant (CTG) to support clinicians in carrying out clinical trial studies for novel therapies for healthcare needs, which can also co-fund industry collaborations.
On top of awards to individuals, the Singapore government has sponsored S$25 million Translational & Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programmes for researchers and clinician scientists to solve scientific problems and translate their research into quality healthcare solutions for patients. A separate Competitive Research Programme (CRP) helps to identify new potential strategic research areas in which Singapore can invest, particularly the biomedical sciences translational and clinical research areas. Each award is for a maximum of S$10 million per programme, over three to five years. Also, The Health Services Research Competitive Research Grants were established in 2009 to promote the conduct of HSR and enable the translation of HSR findings into policy and practice.
To coordinate across the various research players, Singapore has set up a national Biomedical Sciences Industry Partnership Office (BMS IPO) staffed scientifically qualified individuals to help companies interested in collaboration to identify the right partners and manage the collaboration framework within the Singapore scientific community.
Within the phamra manufacturing community, the government has created an industry-government group, Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers' Advisory Council (BMAC), comprising local pharmaceutical plant site directors and government agencies. This constant dialogue between government and industry underscores Singapore's commitment to lead the manufacturing curve with a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce, a track record of quality and process development capabilities by upgrading employees' skills, training new workers and promoting best practices.
Are Indian pharma companies interested in investing in the pharma sector of Singapore?
Where do you see the Indian pharma industry today? What kind of opportunities does Singapore provide to Indian pharma companies?
Mr Hoe: In the Pharmaceuticals & Biotech sector, Indian companies can partner Singapore institutions for innovative development of new medicines, formulation capabilities and drug delivery mechanisms. Singapore has research institutes that are able to support some of their endeavours. Singapore has invested heavily in Asia-prevalent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastric cancer and dengue. As some of these diseases have a high incidence in Indians, leading Indian pharmaceutical companies have expressed interest to work with Singapore clinical institutions to develop new drugs for these diseases. Indian companies will be able to tap on these research foundations to enhance their capabilities and leverage on each other's strengths in the research for these areas.
We will continue to engage with Indian pharma companies to meet their evolving needs as they continue to grow their international footprint and seek external R&D collaboration opportunities.