Ferring Pharma to invest $10m in R&D in S'pore

Swiss drugmaker Ferring Pharmaceuticals will invest $10 million over five years on research and development (R&D) in Singapore.

The firm told The Straits Times at the opening of its new regional office here yesterday that it is in talks with research institute A*Star over a possible collaboration in early- stage R&D.

It is also looking into partnering local hospitals and universities.

"The focus will be on research and discovering new compounds and technologies," said Ferring Group president Michel Pettigrew.

Mr Pettigrew added that he anticipated $10 million to be the "minimum" investment sum.

"If need be, foreign researchers will be brought in. But you're not searching for innovation if you're bringing your own people in... we prefer using locally developed Singaporean talent to find something new for us," he said. His remarks came on the day Ferring officially opened its new Asia-Pacific headquarters at Capitol Tower.

The facility will focus on planning and coordinating the supply chain to support growth in Asia's emerging markets, as well as region-specific final packaging.

Ferring will also be able to provide customer service and support in the same time zone, which can reduce supply lead time by up to two months, the company said.

Singapore is cost-competitive compared with other hubs in the region such as Shanghai and Beijing, said Mr Alex Chang, senior vice-president of the Asia Pacific.

The company, which develops products in the areas of reproductive health, urology and gastroenterology, previously had its regional office in Shanghai and will gradually move it over here.

The new regional office in Singapore has 30 employees, triple the number two years ago when the firm had just a "small sales and marketing team handling the domestic market", according to Mr Chang.

Ferring's annual revenue is about €2 billion (S$3 billion).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'Ferring Pharma to invest $10m in R&D in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe