Singapore Shines as a Biotech Star in the Heart of Asia

Image of Marina Bay for article on Singapore biotech.

As a leading biomedical sciences hub at the heart of Asia, Singapore is the choice location for companies to develop and produce new products that better meet Asia’s healthcare needs. Companies benefit from our pro-business environment, infrastructure, talent and innovation ecosystem, as well as the proximity to the rest of Asia.

Companies like GlaxoSmithKline, MSD and Roche have based a range of commercial activities, including Supply Chain Management, Regulatory Affairs and Medical Affairs in Singapore. (EDB:  Singapore)

There were some very interesting choices for up-and-coming biotech companies.  Many of the companies I studied were focused on personalized oncology as well as neurodegenerative diseases.

Hummingbird Bioscience, Singapore, uses a unique Rational Antibody Discovery platform enables us to overcome many of the challenges of finding potent therapeutic antibodies and to generate antibodies precisely engineered for efficacy, safety and developability. This includes the discovery of functional agonists and antagonists, antibodies against transmembrane proteins as well as the conserved regions of rapidly mutating e.g., viral proteins.  Their current pipeline includes HMBD-001 a novel mechanism of action for inhibiting tumor growth and drug resistance in HER3-driven cancers, VISTA (V-domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation) is a co-inhibitory immune checkpoint that potently suppresses T cell activity in a variety of cancers and has been associated with a lack of response to other checkpoint therapies and HMBD-009 is our pioneering next-generation antibody program that targets both BCMA and TACI, proteins commonly overexpressed on tumor cells in multiple myeloma.

TauRx Pharmaceuticals, Singapore, has already completed three separate Phase 3 trials: two in Alzheimer’s disease and one in the rare neurodegenerative disorder, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).  In addition, TauRx evaluated its first-generation tau aggregation inhibitor (TAI), rember®, in a large, double-blind, long-duration, Phase 2 clinical trial in 321 patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease. 

Tessa Therapeutics, Singapore, is leading the way in CD30 targeting using cell therapy. CD30 is a well validated lymphoma target with homogenous expression in Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma and multiple subsets of non-Hodgkin Lymphomas. Tessa’s approach to target CD30-positive cancers using CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) cells has demonstrated excellent safety and efficacy in early clinical trials. Having received the RMAT and PRIME designation, Tessa is now advancing the therapy to a pivotal trial.

Lucence, Singapore, is making cancer testing easier.  LiquidHALLMARK® is an ultrasensitive, next-generation sequencing assay for genomic profiling of a patient’s unique cancer.  Requiring only a single blood sample, it provides important information for cancer care, especially when tissue by invasive biopsy is insufficient or inaccessible.

Curiox Biosystems, Singapore, pioneered centrifuge-free cell washing to improve data and simplify workflows.  Their Laminar Wash™ Systems deliver higher quality data through better cell retention, improved preservation of cellular physiology and viability, and exceptional study-to-study and operator-to-operator reproducibility.