Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and engineering giant Siemens have signed on as founding members of a new consortium set up by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) to address challenges such as costs, regulatory compliance and processes to bring drugs from trials to markets.

The initiative aims to address "an increasingly urgent need to access emerging 'next generation manufacturing' technologies" that provide "quantum change improvements in cost, quality, environmental impact and process robustness". The programme "also offers a unique platform for members to interact, develop and grow the industry-processing technology knowledge base" by facilitating technology transfer and manpower development.

George Routhier, managing director at Pfizer Asia Pacific, says that for Singapore's manufacturing business to sustain global competitiveness, "employing technological advancements in the areas of energy management and manufacturing operations is essential".

Lim Hock Heng, head of GSK's sites in Singapore, added that "at a time when companies in the pharmaceutical industry are challenged on speed in new product development, manufacturing process innovation, consistency in product quality, regulatory conformance and environmental sustainability, an integrative approach to the application of cutting-edge technologies will be crucial to future success".