Biomedical Sciences

Companies can impact global health by achieving excellence and synergies across R&D, manufacturing and headquarter activities, right here in the Biopolis of Asia.

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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.

Research Excellence

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.

Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology

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).

Medical Technology

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.

Manufacturing Excellence

Singapore is a trusted and competitive manufacturing site for many leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies. In 2011, Singapore manufactured over S$27 billion worth of medicines and medical devices for global markets.

Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology

Many leading biopharmaceutical companies (including Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis) have chosen to make Singapore their global manufacturing base. These companies operate multi-purpose plants with the capability to manufacture a wide range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), biologics and nutritionals. The country has also made significant inroads in biologics manufacturing, with Baxter, Lonza, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche announcing their investments to set up major biologics facilities that amount to US$2 billion in capital expenditure. To date, all pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities that have commenced commercial operations have received validation from international regulators such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

Medical Technology

Singapore is a trusted base for companies to manufacture complex and high quality instruments and medical devices for global markets. In 2012, Life Technologies announced that it had set up a Global Instrument Centre of Excellence in Singapore, which will design and manufacture including next-generation sequencing and molecular diagnostic instruments. The company will also move the manufacture of Ion Torrent's Personal Genome Machine to the Singapore centre, Life Technologies’ only internal instrument manufacturing facility outside of the United States. Medtronic, the world’s largest standalone medical devices manufacturer, also anchored its high value-added manufacturing of cardiac devices and lead in Singapore. The company opened its first pacemaker and leads manufacturing facility here in 2011, making the launch its first in-Asia site manufacturing cardiac devices and lead.

Where do you fit into the picture?

Singapore's distinction in the biomedical sciences sector stems from our unwavering commitment to the advancement of biomedical technologies and our world-class facilities solely dedicated to the industry's growing needs.

In particular, Singapore-based manufacturers are looking for top talent to fuel this industry further. Some of the key manufacturing functions that are seeking experienced professionals include: manufacturing operations, quality, engineering and process development.

Find out more about the biopharmaceutical industry from Carlos Pereira, Co-Chairperson of the Biopharmaceutical Manufactures’ Advisory Council here.

Read more about Singapore’s biomedical sciences industry here.

Click here to view the latest copy of Careers@Singapore eDM for the Biomedical industry.

Download industry factsheet.

Download career guide in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing.