Government agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore has launched a biomedical R&D consortium involving seven companies based in the island state, with the aim of tapping into the trend for outsourcing of research and development across Asia.

The anchor company in the consortium, which will consolidate services ranging from validation of biological targets to lead candidate identification, preclinical research and clinical trials, is Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI).

Its Singapore-based partners are Dx assays, Experimental Therapeutics Centre, Innoheart, Maccine, MerLion Pharmaceuticals and PWG Genetics.

The consortium can also provide stand-alone services based on client needs, noted IE Singapore, which said contract research organisations and research institutes in the island state “have the technical expertise and competencies to address the needs of global biomedical companies”.

Many of these companies, however, “are niche players with a narrow range of services, which puts them at a disadvantage when competing with larger providers offering the full suite of product development services”, it noted.

Outsourcing opportunities

As of 2010, more than 50 companies were carrying out biomedical R&D in Singapore while the local contract research sector was valued at US$133 million, making up 3% of a total Asian market estimated at US$4 billion, IE Singapore pointed out.

“As global companies outsource part of their R&D functions to Asia, it means increased business opportunities for our companies,” commented Tan Soon Kim, group director of lifestyle business services at IE Singapore.

“The consortium aggregates key capabilities of the companies along the biomedical R&D value chain, to provide a one-stop solution for global players,” he added. “This equips them with the competitive edge to gain a foothold overseas. We will support the consortium in market research, lead referrals and project facilitation.”

The Singapore Biomedical R&D consortium’s first overseas showcase will be at BIO International Convention in the US, running from 27 to 30 June 2011 in Washington, DC.