Rapid development in the biomedical sciences industry has propelled its manufacturing output and the industry is set to enjoy strong growth as major leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies continue to establish operations or expand their scope of activities in Singapore.
With a vibrant biomedical manufacturing sector, Singapore's capability as an international medical hub is strengthened, ensuring healthcare providers and patients a constant supply of new and existing quality medicines and medical products.
Thriving Pharmaceutical Industry
Many major pharmaceutical companies have set up their regional headquarters and manufacturing plants in Singapore, attracted by the excellent physical and regulatory infrastructure, global connectivity and skilled manpower available here.
Leading global pharmaceutical companies which have chosen Singapore to be their global manufacturing base include Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza, Merck & Co, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis and Schering-Plough. These companies operate multi-purpose plants with the capability to manufacture a wide range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), biologics and nutritionals.
Convinced of Singapore's competitive advantages, many companies diversify their operations to include other manufacturing activities besides APIs. Key examples include:
- Novartis announced in 2007 that it will be building its largest manufacturing plant in Singapore. This S$1.02 billion plant will produce cutting-edge drugs made from living cells.
- Abbott announced in 2006 that it was setting up a S$450 million nutritional powder manufacturing plant in Singapore, its first major capital investment in Asia and its largest nutritional investment to date.
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has made substantial investments in Singapore since 1998. Its investments include a development facility with a S$100 million extension manufacturing some of its latest respiratory products, a S$50 million drug technology centre, a new S$115 million R&D pilot plant to cater to its extensive pipeline of new chemical entities. In 2006, GSK set up its first vaccine manufacturing plant in Singapore. To be operational in 2010, this S$300 million vaccine plant is GSK's largest vaccine investment in Asia.
- Lonza Group and Bio*One Capital announced in 2006 that they are building a large-scale mammalian cell culture plant in Singapore to manufacture commercial biopharmaceuticals. Lonza's second large-scale mammalian manufacturing plant, the plant will include up to 4 mammalian bioreactor trains.
- Schering Plough opened a Biotech Sterile Manufacturing Facility and a Tablet Facility to complement its international product manufacturing operations to cater to rising global demand. Its third multi-purpose plant began production in 2005.
- In 2005, Novartis conducted a ground-breaking ceremony for its new US$180 million pharmaceutical production plant which will produce new and existing Novartis pharmaceutical products.
- In 2004, Pfizer opened its US$350 million multi-purpose manufacturing facility in Singapore, its first large-scale active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing plant in Asia.
- Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) established a pharmaceutical bulk actives facility in 2001 and opened a new pharmaceutical formulation facility in October 2003.
Strong Medical Technology Industry
Many medical technology companies have made Singapore their manufacturing base for their key products. These include Applied Biosystems, Baxter, Becton Dickinson (BD), Biosensors, CIBA Vision, Fisher Scientific, Hoya Healthcare, Japan Medical Supply (JMS), MDS Sciex, Siemens Medical Instruments and Waters.
A variety of medical products, ranging from syringes and catheters, hearing aids and contact lenses, to research instruments and scientific analytical equipment, is manufactured here.
Key factors that attract these medical technology companies to Singapore include the support of an established electronics and precision engineering industry, availability of contract manufacturing services, reverse logistics services and sterilisation services as well as excellent integrated and value-added logistics services. Singapore is also known for its high standards in Medical Technology manufacturing.
As Singapore continues to attract more major companies to set up manufacturing and R&D centres here, the industry is expected to grow at an accelerated rate.