New Silkroutes explores working with Huawei on genomic medicine

New Silkroutes and Huawei signed an MOU to extensively explore a collaboration to use AI to establish "breakthrough analyses" of genomic data. PHOTO: NEWSILKROUTES.ORG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - New Silkroutes Group has inked an agreement with Huawei International to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can be used in genomics-driven healthcare, the mainboard-listed investment holding company said on Monday.

Under a memorandum of understanding, New Silkroutes and Huawei will extensively explore a collaboration to use AI to establish "breakthrough analyses" of genomic data and develop predictive models for diagnoses, therapeutics and prognoses in oncology and genomics, New Silkroutes said in an exchange filing.

Huawei International is the overseas arm of Huawei serving customers in Singapore. Its Shenzhen-based parent is a leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices, New Silkroutes said.

VicPearly Wong, chief executive of New Silkroutes, said: "The new strategic growth of New Silkroutes is towards AI-driven solutions and digital transformation in the healthcare sector. We are excited to collaborate with Huawei, a global technology leader, to develop valuable and innovative breakthroughs in genomics-driven healthcare."

Genomic medicine involves the study of patients' DNA, which can lead to improved clinical care and personalised treatment.

Using big data, AI can speed up the analysis of vast amounts of genomic sequence data so that doctors and patients can identify and manage conditions at the earliest possible stages, the company said.

The MOU does not involve any commitment of funding, and both parties will sign a binding agreement should they decide to take the collaboration to the next level, the company said.

Dr Wong was appointed executive director in November 2020, after the company announced the previous month that non-independent, non-executive chairman Goh Jin Hian had resigned. Dr Goh, the medically-trained son of former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong, was the company's CEO until Oct 1.

Since taking the helm, Dr Wong has worked with its board of directors to order a strategic review of the group's International Energy Group and to commence a voluntary creditors' winding up of the subsidiary, the company said.

New Silkroutes has also appointed KPMG Services to conduct an independent review into two earlier management agreements entered into by its China subsidiary, Shanghai Fengwei Garment Accessory, as well as into the valuation of a 4.5 per cent stake in Thai General Nice Coal and Coke, it added.

"I am pleased to say that we are nearing the end of removing loss-making legacy businesses and restructuring NSG so that we can build a strong momentum to pivot fully into healthcare," Dr Wong said.

New Silkroutes shares rose 0.3 Singapore cents, or 4 per cent, to close at 7.8 Singapore cents on Monday.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.