3 global pharma giants, NUS and A*Star team up for manufacturing innovation

A*Star has initiated the Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (PIPS) in partnership with NUS. GSK, MSD International and Pfizer Asia Pacific have joined the programme as pioneer members. From left to right: Dr Prasad Kanneganti, Site Director, Pfize
A*Star has initiated the Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (PIPS) in partnership with NUS. GSK, MSD International and Pfizer Asia Pacific have joined the programme as pioneer members. From left to right: Dr Prasad Kanneganti, Site Director, Pfizer Asia Pacific; Mr Lim Hock Heng, VP & Site Director, GSK; Mr John Smith, Managing Director of MSD International (Singapore Branch), MSD Manufacturing Division Singapore; Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, A*Star; Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry); Professor Victor Shim, Vice- Dean (External Relations), Faculty of Engineering, NUS; and Mr Suresh Sachi, Deputy Managing Director, A*Star.PHOTO: A*STAR

SINGAPORE - Pharmaceutical manufacturing in Singapore is set to benefit from industry partnerships, with Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran announcing the launch on Tuesday (Sept 5) of the Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (Pips).

The industry development scheme was initiated by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) in partnership with the National University of Singapore, with pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline, MSD International and Pfizer Asia Pacific joining in the programme as pioneer members.

The programme will focus on areas such as continuous manufacturing, bio-catalysis, process analytical technology and advanced process control.

The investment in pharmaceuticals comes on the heels of the Government's five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, which commits to ploughing S$3.2 billion into advanced manufacturing and engineering.

"Pips will bring together Singapore's public sector research capabilities and the domain expertise of key players in the pharma industry to improve and transform the manufacturing operations and technologies of the industry," Mr Iswaran said.

Partnerships are key to building up the Republic as a global leader in manufacturing, said the minister.

He added: "Given the complex and dynamic nature of the future of manufacturing, it is important for us to strengthen the partnerships within the local manufacturing ecosystem in order to pool resources, share risk and increase adoption rates."

Mr Iswaran's remarks kicked off the Future of Manufacturing Summit @ Singapore, the anchor event of A*Star's two-week series on developing and sustaining Singapore's industry capabilities.

Other ongoing A*Star efforts highlighted by the minister include its January 2017 agreement with Rolls-Royce to set up technology centres for the aerospace and manufacturing industries here, as well as its two model factories to test and develop advanced technologies, which are set to be ready by early 2018.

Mr Iswaran said: "Given the complex and dynamic nature of the future of manufacturing, it is important for us to strengthen the partnerships within the local manufacturing ecosystem in order to pool resources, share risk and increase adoption rates."

But he added that an investment in workers also lies at the heart of strategy for the manufacturing sector, and to other supporting sectors such as logistics.

"Singapore's emphasis on talent development and training will be key to the success of our manufacturing sector and companies, and undergird our innovation and technology development efforts," he said.

He pointed to continuous education and training programmes in digital confidence that are now in the pipeline, which could tap the resources of the upcoming A*Star model factories.