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BetaLife wins Cytiva's first BioChallenge Competition in Southeast Asia

BetaLife wins Cytiva's first BioChallenge Competition in Southeast Asia
  • BetaLife wins top prize with its potential to provide regenerative medicines to patients with severe diabetes in Southeast Asia.
  • Cytiva's BioChallenge aims to support the innovation of biotech startups.

Singapore, June 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Cytiva recognizes the talent, resource and scalability constraints faced by small to medium-sized biotechs in Southeast Asia. As such, it brought its global competition, BioChallenge, for the first time to four Southeast Asian countries - Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore - to help promising biotech startups bring highly advanced innovations from discovery to delivery.

Southeast Asia BioChallenge received applications from companies with interests in four different therapeutic areas. BetaLife was named as the winner of the first BioChallenge in Southeast Asia on May 19, 2023 and was awarded SG$200 000 in FastTrak services covering cell engineering, process development and purification solutions. Singapore-based company Tessa Therapeutics, and Thailand-based BGF Plantrix, which came in second and third respectively, were awarded SG$100 000 in FastTrak* services and training, and 3 months' license of GoSilico mechanistic chromatography modeling software worth up to SG$30 000 respectively, so that they can scale up efficiently, mitigate risks, and reduce time to market.

Southeast Asia BioChallenge's panel of judges included regional industry leaders Dr Koh Boon Tong, Executive Director, A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) from Singapore and Dr Chairat Uthaipibull, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELs) from Thailand.

Dr Koh Boon Tong, Executive Director at A*STAR's BTI, says: "Every proposal was assessed based on five criteria which include project rationale, experimental outline, and future business impact. The three winners were chosen for their strong potential to advance the delivery of therapeutics that can benefit patients in the region."             

Dr Natasha Ng, Co-Founder, BetaLife says: "We're striving to provide novel induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) therapies that will benefit diabetes patients in the region. Winning BioChallenge provides the right collaboration for us to embark on early-stage scale-up manufacturing as well as process development and accelerate translation of regenerative medicines for patients suffering from diabetes."

Conor McKechnie, Vice President Strategy and Marketing, Cytiva says: "Data from Cytiva's 2023 Global Biopharma Resilience Index shows that Asia Pacific is a hotspot for biopharma growth. However, respondents in APAC's emerging countries say that it's a challenge finding collaborators to work with on R&D and sourcing the talent they need. Through BioChallenge, we want to help address this and support startups with expertise and collaborators to bring advanced innovations to patients in the region."

Since 2018, Cytiva's BioChallenge has overseen more than 130 projects and has provided approximately four million USD of products and services to help promising biotech startups scale up efficiently, mitigate risks and reduce time to go to market. Past winners of the competition in Asia Pacific include VivaZome in Australia and New Zealand as well as Genexine in South Korea.

Stay tuned for the 2023 Global Biopharma Resilience Index.

Fast Trak and GoSilico are trademarks of Global Life Sciences Solutions USA LLC or an affiliate doing business as Cytiva.

About Cytiva
At Cytiva, our mission is to advance and accelerate the development of therapeutics. With nearly 16 000 associates in more than 40 countries, we're driven to use our expertise and talent to achieve better flexibility, capacity, and efficiency for our customers. Our broad and deep portfolio of tools and technologies, global scale, and best-in-class service provides critical support from discovery to delivery, for customers spanning researchers, emerging biotech, large-scale biopharma and contract manufacturers. Learn more at

Media Contact:  
Ina Jasni

About BetaLife
BetaLife is a Singapore-based stem cell company, focused on stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine for diabetes. It has core strengths in the generation of human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (hiPSCs) and cell manufacturing of hiPSC-derived cells for translational research and clinical applications. For more information about BetaLife, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn.

Media Contact:  
Novanne Seah

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