SINGAPORE – Biomedical companies here have raised a record amount of funding so far, with more than US $ 600 million (S $ 820 million) raised from January to September this year, according to the latest figures from Enterprise Singapore (ESG).
The lion’s share of those investments were raised by a handful of Singapore’s most promising companies, including biotech firm Mirxes, Esco Lifesciences, which provides life science tools to the healthcare industry, and the start-up -up of health Doctor Anywhere.
Ms Audrey Lok, director of health and biomedicine at ESG, said the funds raised have increased more than fivefold to reach US $ 464 million in 2020, from around US $ 86 million in 2016.
“This success can be attributed to our mature ecosystem as well as our ability to attract experienced accelerators and venture capitalists to Singapore, and to connect local businesses to innovation nodes around the world,” said she declared.
ESG supports small and medium enterprises in Singapore. He released his figures earlier this month.
Ms. Lok noted that the biomedical innovation ecosystem has grown almost six-fold over the past decade, with more than 360 biomedical start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses to date.
“This is in part accelerated by the increased demand for biomedical solutions during the pandemic,” she added.
But today’s flourishing industry has lasted for years.
Significant investments were made in the early 2000s to develop the infrastructure, human capital and intellectual capital to allow innovation to flourish in the biomedical sector, said Professor Benjamin Seet, deputy director general of the education and research at the National Healthcare Group and former executive director of the Biomedical Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A * Star).
âThere were a lot of detractors, even among our international advisers. Some felt that Singapore was too small, that our people were not enterprising enough, that our investors were too risk averse, that our government was too focused on returns on investments.
“It didn’t help that in the first decade there were only a handful of local biotechs and little success,” Professor Seet said.
But the efforts eventually paid off, and the biomedical manufacturing sector in 2019 contributed around 4% of Singapore’s gross development product (GDP), with much more room for growth, he added.
It took a long time to build and there were no shortcuts, he said.
Mirxes co-founder and chief executive Zhou Lihan, who had his gastric cancer diagnostic test kits approved and marketed in 2019, said research for his technology began as early as 2002, when he was a student in life sciences at the National University of Singapore. âIn 2010, we moved our research project to A * Star, where we got funding and support to translate our technology for commercialization. Mirxes was finally established in 2014. There is a long period of gestation for the product to come to fruition, “Dr. Zhou said.