Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is this a sign that Singapore’s biomedical sciences push is paying off?

British pharmaceutical giant GSK opened its first and only pilot plant in Singapore.

With the opening of this 82-million-U.S. dollar pilot plant, GSK's operations in Singapore has spanned the entire value chain of activities, including drug discovery, clinical research, manufacturing and regional headquarters, S. Iswaran, Singapore's Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said at the opening ceremony.

"The pilot plant will facilitate the design of manufacturing processes, to bring the latest drugs discovered at GSK into commercial production for the first time," said the minister.

It will involve new process development, process scale-up to handle large-scale drug production.
"Hence, this pilot plant is an important addition to GSK's manufacturing capabilities here, enabling it to transcend traditional manufacturing excellence into the realm of manufacturing innovation," he added.

Many pharmaceutical companies in Singapore are increasingly placing greater emphasis on manufacturing innovation by establishing pilot plants here to complement their commercial-scale manufacturing facilities.

Last year, biomedical sciences (BMS) manufacturing output reached a high of 24 billion Singapore dollars, with a value add of 13.4 billion Singapore dollars. This amounts to almost a quarter of the country's total manufacturing value added.

Will this innovation push spread to other industries too?