Singapore Attracts Four Major Biologics Manufacturing Investments Totaling Close to US$1 Billion in Less Than Two Years

Agency for Science, Technology and Research and EDB Singapore
2007-05-08 17:39 735

BOSTON, May 8 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Having established a reputation as the most competitive and trusted site for pharmaceutical bulk activities and secondary manufacturing, Singapore is now aggressively pursuing investments in biologics (Note 1), an area that will drive growth in the drug industry. We are quickly building critical mass for biologics manufacturing and expect to maintain this momentum as we attract more companies.

Note 1: Biologics is the production of protein-based drugs such as

vaccines, hormones and insulin. They are produced by culturing

living cells. (Pharmaceutical medicines are chemically


In less than two years, Singapore has attracted four major biologics investments totaling close to US$1 billion. These facilities will be manufacturing biologics for the global market.

Genentech is building a US$140 million commercial-scale microbial-based manufacturing facility to produce Lucentis, ranibizumab injection, a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration.

Swiss biologics contract manufacturer Lonza is building two commercial-scale mammalian cell-based contract manufacturing facilities. Lonza's first US$250 million contract manufacturing facility has been outsourced to produce Avastin, Genentech's cancer drug. The second US$350 million facility will support the needs of additional customers.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is constructing a US$200 million E-coli-based commercial-scale manufacturing facility to produce pediatric vaccines against meningitis and typhoid.

"These projects are strong endorsement of Singapore as the choice site for world-class biologics manufacturing. Building critical mass in biologics will enhance our status as a global hub for biomedical sciences manufacturing, and raise the bar for competing locations because of the highly-skilled manpower and complexities associated," said Mr. Yeoh Keat Chuan, Executive Director, Biomedical Sciences Group, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).


Singapore's interest in biologics manufacturing stems from the rising proportion of biologics drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Note 2) and the increasing number of biologics drugs entering clinical evaluation. The numbers are anticipated to surge in the coming five years. According to Datamonitor, the compounded growth rate for biologics is 13% compared to 0.9% for small molecule products.

Note 2: About 30% of all medicines approved by the U.S. FDA in 2006 were

biologics drugs.


Singapore is the only country in Asia developing capabilities across the entire value chain of biologics in a targeted manner, from research, pilot-scale production, commercial-scale contract manufacturing, commercial-scale manufacturing to fill and finish.

To support bioprocess development, the Bioprocessing Technology Institute has built up research capabilities in mammalian cell culture technology and expression engineering. Homegrown biologics contract manufacturer A-Bio Pharma provides clinical-scale biologics manufacturing services to global pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers. A-Bio Pharma has secured three contracts from GSK and one from Novo Nordisk. Lonza's two commercial-scale facilities offer a solution to companies looking to outsource their biologics manufacturing needs. Genentech and GSK own their respective commercial-scale biologics manufacturing facilities and Schering-Plough undertakes fill and finish in Singapore.


Singapore has also invested considerable resources over the past five years in academic and industry courses to create a pool of skilled manpower in biologics. About 3,500 university graduates and 3,000 technicians are trained in life sciences every year. Singapore has put in place three key initiatives for biologics training.

Firstly, in the area of in-curricula training, local universities, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education have established rigorous academic programs to provide students with a foundation in biologics manufacturing. These institutes are in close contact with the industry to ensure their academic programs meet the industry's high standards.

Secondly, industry-specific training courses equip the workforce with practical skills and in-depth knowledge of biologics manufacturing. Companies can leverage these courses to train their employees locally, before proceeding with company-specific training.

Thirdly, on-the-job training is encouraged by supporting the cost of sending fresh graduates to biologics manufacturing facilities worldwide, such as Lonza, for up to 24 months. This EDB-administered initiative aims to develop a pool of talent with relevant working experience. Currently, there are about 250 trainees in partners' facilities worldwide.


Output by drug factories in Singapore jumped by over 30% last year to a record US$14.8 billion, almost four times the production in 2000.


Tuas Biomedical Park (TBP) at the westernmost tip of Singapore has been designed for biologics and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The 370 hectares of land provides companies with economies of scale by sharing major infrastructure such as power, water, telecommunication, gas and sewer requirements. Landscaping has also been integrated to create a conducive manufacturing environment.

Leading global biomedical sciences companies at TBP include Abbott, Ciba Vision, Genentech, GSK Biologicals, Lonza, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Pfizer, Wyeth Nutritionals and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

To obtain more information, please visit the Singapore Pavilion at booth number 2533.

For media enquiries, please contact Ruder Finn.

Kim Hamelburg

Senior Associate

Ruder Finn Binder (Boston)

Tel: +1-781-559-0429

HP: +1-202-577-8227


Rae Chew

Senior Consultant

Ruder Finn Asia (Singapore)

HP: +65-9823-7722


Source: Agency for Science, Technology and Research and EDB Singapore