Singapore gets new $60 million hub to fast-track medical innovations

SINGAPORE - Singapore's medical technologies sector got a $60 million shot in the arm on Wednesday with the launch of a new hub to fast-track innovations for diagnosing illnesses.

The Diagnostics Development Hub, or DxD Hub for short, will bring together clinicians, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and med tech multinationals to help start-ups bring their diagnostic innovations to market as soon as possible.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran told the launch at Biopolis: "The DxD Hub is a timely and valuable addition to Singapore's med tech landscape and well-positioned to catalyse our efforts in this sector."

Start-ups will get input from clinicians, such as those from SingHealth, to make their innovations usable for doctors and patients.

"Sometimes, innovators come to clinicians too late in the game with disappointing results," said Dr Henry Ho, director of the Medical Technology Office at SingHealth, a DxD partner. "By giving our input in an early stage of innovation, we can help them avoid mistakes."

Innovators will get access to med tech engineers as well as help in meeting regulatory requirements and marketing both in Singapore and abroad.

Big guns such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the National Healthcare Group and the National University Health System have joined the DxD network. Korean med tech firm Gencurix has also signed up.

"We think of med tech solutions as global solutions and not local solutions, so international partners really help," said the hub's chief executive officer Sidney Yee.

She is also in talks with partners in countries like the United States and Europe. The $60 million will be spread across five years and spent mostly on product development, she added.

Current projects in the pipeline include early detection tests for breast cancer and imaging tests to identify diseases like liver fibrosis.

Between 2009 and 2013, manufacturing output for Singapore's med tech industry grew by 50 per cent to $5.1 billion. Jobs in this sector grew 24 per cent to 10,400.