Singapore Draws Biomedical Companies' First-In-Asia Manufacturing and Headquarters Offices

Biomedical Investments exceeded US$800 million in 2009

CHICAGO, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies that seek to capitalize on Asia's growth story are locating first-in-Asia manufacturing facilities and headquarters offices in Singapore. Fixed asset investments from biomedical companies exceeded US$800 million in 2009.

"Asia's growth presents tremendous opportunities but its diversity also poses challenges. In global companies' foray into Asia, Singapore can help to enhance manufacturing and business excellence to strengthen their foothold in Asia," said Mr. Beh Kian Teik, Director, Biomedical Sciences, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Core Site of Manufacturing Excellence in Asia

In 2009, Baxter, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and Roche opened their first-in-Asia commercial-scale manufacturing plants in Singapore. The growing base of biologics activities also include GSK Biologicals' collaboration with the Bioprocessing Technology Institute (a research institute under Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research – A*STAR), as well as Millipore's launch of its Biomanufacturing Sciences and Training Center. In addition, Lonza commenced construction for its first-in-Asia cell therapy manufacturing plant in Singapore.

In January 2010, Genentech's microbial-based facility in Singapore was awarded the Facility of the Year Award for Project Execution 2010 by ISPE, INTERPHEX and Pharmaceutical Processing magazine for initiating commencing GMP qualification batches within 24 months from engineering kick-off. This facility was opened with another mammalian-based facility that Genentech acquired from Lonza in August 2009. Both facilities were officially opened under its parent company, Roche, in November 2009.

While Singapore has established its position as a leading site for biologics manufacturing in Asia, it continues to enhance its strong track record in chemical-based active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing. In October 2009, Singapore's Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), A*STAR, opened a pilot-scale laboratory facility, called the Kilo Lab, where pharmaceutical companies can carry out evaluation of new recipes and processes before going to full-scale manufacturing. The facility also provides a platform to train and develop a new generation of engineers and chemists in Singapore.

Furthermore, EDB has partnered GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to build up capabilities and develop solutions in sustainable manufacturing as part of the GSK-EDB 10-year strategic roadmap.

Home-Base in Asia

Leveraging Singapore's advantages as a leading global city and deep biomedical industry base, leading companies (e.g. Abbott, Bayer Schering Pharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Pfizer, Roche) have set up regional headquarters in addition to manufacturing and R&D activities to drive business expansion and innovation in Asia. More than 30 leading biomedical sciences companies that include eight of the top ten pharmaceutical companies have set up regional headquarters in Singapore.

In 2009, Takeda opened its regional headquarters and regional clinical coordination centre in Singapore, while Quintiles doubled its headquarters facility which includes a new, 13,000 square-foot central laboratory.

"Our new facility provides us with the technology, resources and scalability necessary to meet the needs of our customers in today's New Health landscape as well as scale our operations to meet their needs in the future," said Dr Anand Tharmaratnam, Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development for Quintiles Asia-Pacific.

Global companies that are partnering Singapore and its growing base of local biomedical sciences companies can also leverage the closer proximity to new markets and partners in Asia.

"As global biomedical sciences companies look to further drive and manage business expansion in Asia, Singapore-based companies provide for a trustworthy, strategic partner for their business. At this year's BIO convention, Singapore is represented by a vibrant group of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and contract clinical research organizations (CROs)," said Mr. Satvinder Singh, Americas Group Director, International Enterprise Singapore.

For more information on how Singapore is helping the biomedical science companies expand their footprint in Asia, please visit the Singapore Pavilion (Booth No. 5320) or  

About Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

EDB is the lead government agency for planning and executing strategies to enhance Singapore's position as a global business centre and grow the Singapore economy.  We dream, design and deliver solutions that create value for investors and companies in Singapore.  In so doing, we generate economic opportunities and jobs for the people of Singapore; and help shape Singapore's economic future.

'Host to Home' articulates how EDB is sharpening its economic development strategies to position Singapore for the future. It is about extending Singapore's value proposition to businesses not just to help them improve their bottom line, but also to help them grow their top line.  EDB plans to build on existing strengths and add new layers of capabilities to enable Singapore to become a 'Home for Business', a 'Home for Innovation' and a 'Home for Talent'.

For more information about Singapore's biomedical sciences sector, please visit

About International Enterprise Singapore

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry spearheading the development of Singapore's external economy.

Our mission is to promote the overseas growth of Singapore-based enterprises and international trade. With a global network in over 30 locations and our 3C framework of assistance – Connections, Competency, Capital, we offer services to help enterprises export, develop business capabilities, find overseas partners and enter new markets. At the same time, we work to position Singapore as a base for foreign businesses to expand into the region in partnership with Singapore-based companies.

Please visit for more information.

Media Contacts:

Phil Walotsky

Ruder Finn

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (917) 318-9784

Zhi-Wei Loh

Singapore Economic Development Board

Email: [email protected]  

Phone: (65) 9231-5017

SOURCE Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)