New S'pore-South Korea med-tech centre at Biopolis

File photo of researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).
PHOTO: New S'pore-South Korea med-tech centre at Biopolis

SINGAPORE - Singapore and South Korea have set up a joint centre here to develop medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, including drugs.

The centre, located at the Biopolis in Buona Vista, will help South Korean biomedical companies create new devices, conduct first-in-human trials and register and commercialise products in the Republic.

The collaboration is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed last year between Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and South Korea's government-affiliated Korean Health Industry Development Institute (Khidi).

A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said: "Korean companies want to expand their operations regionally and internationally through Singapore, while Singapore wants to attract more biomedical companies to build a critical mass of such companies here."

Seven South Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have expressed interest in working with Singapore partners on products. The foreign firms include med-tech groups Gencurix and Handok.

The firms and their local partners can also tap a US$5 million (S$6.2 million) A*Star-Khidi fund to finance their joint projects. Fund recipients must base part of their operations in Singapore, which will create high-value jobs here.

The agreement last year includes exchange trips. In January, 20 post-graduates and staff from South Korea's Dongguk University came here to take part in the med-tech Singapore-Stanford University biodesign programme.

Some Singaporeans are expected to learn about South Korea's med-tech system when they go on a study trip to Seoul next year.

This article was first published on June 17, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.