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Singapore - Republic of Korea collaboration on biomedical technology shows results
Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) have collaborated to open the KHIDI-A*STAR Medtech Development Centre in Biopolis. The Centre will promote the co-development of medical technologies and pharmaceuticals between Singapore and South Korea, and is a key milestone of the A*STAR-KHIDI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement signed in December 2013.

The Centre will facilitate South Korean biomedical companies seeking to conduct biomedical technology innovation, first-in-human trials, registration and commercialization of products in Singapore. Seven Korean SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) have expressed interest to co-develop products with Singapore partners in the research and healthcare space. Among these seven are GENCURIX Inc. and BMT Inc.

The companies and their local partners will be able to tap on a US$5 million A*STAR-KHIDI Joint Research Fund. The fund was set up as part of the MOU to help finance joint projects between Korean and Singapore entities to register and manufacture products in Singapore, as well as market them to the region from here. Successful recipients of the fund will base part of their operations in Singapore, which will create high-value jobs.

Another aim of the MOU is to conduct talent exchanges between the two countries. The first group of Korean exchange students comprised of 20 post- graduates and staff from South Korea’s Dongguk University were in Singapore last January, to take part in the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign programme (SSB) co-organised by A*STAR, the Economic Development Board and Stanford University. The programme taught the participants about SSB’s unique Biodesign process and organised visits to local medtech manufacturing facilities. Singaporean fellows are expected to learn about South Korea’s medtech ecosystem when they embark on a study trip to Seoul next year.

Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR said “Within six months of signing the A*STAR-KHIDI MOU, we have seen meaningful progress in our collaboration. Singapore and the Republic of Korea share complementary strategies in the biomedical space. Korean companies want to regionalize and internationalize their operations through Singapore while Singapore want to attract more biomedical companies to build a critical mass of such companies here. The first talent exchange was successfully conducted early this year to bring the two communities closer together. Today, the opening of the Biomedical Sciences Development Centre will bring about a more institutionalized approach to fostering collaborations between the Korean biomedical companies and research partners in Singapore.”

Dr Jung Kee-Taig, President of KHIDI stated, “Singapore plays a key role in realizing President Park Geun-hye’s roadmap to creating a Creative Economy in the Republic of Korea. Singapore’s excellence in scientific research, product development, intellectual property protection and pro-business climate offers our SMEs the necessary tools to commercialize their biomedical products to other markets. The opening of the Centre sends a strong signal of South Korea’s intention to forge closer ties with Singapore and confidence in Singapore’s biomedical scene.”

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