Tuesday, January 26, 2010

JTC to launch Biopolis Phase 4

It’ll have more facilities for pre-clinical trials; medical tech cluster also in the works at Tukang

THE government is ramping up development of the biomedical sciences sector, with plans to release another site at Biopolis for tender and set up a new medical technology cluster at Tukang.

Phase Four at Biopolis could cost some $80-$100 million to build and will have more facilities for pre-clinical trials, JTC Corporation said yesterday.

The expansion will add another 40,000 square metres of gross floor area (GFA) to the biomedical research and development (R&D) centre in Buona Vista. JTC will award the project to a private developer this year, and the site could be ready by end-2012 or early-2013.

According to JTC, there has been an increase in demand for R&D spaces. Gross expenditure on R&D was $7.18 billion in 2008, or 2.77 per cent of GDP. Singapore’s aim is to have this reach 3 per cent of GDP, JTC said.

Biopolis currently comprises three phases, which together cost close to $700 million to develop. Phases One and Two have more facilities for basic research. Phase Three is under construction and should be completed by the end of this year.

Phase Four will house more facilities for pre-clinical trials. There will also be laboratories built around a ’shelf-plus’ concept, fitted with basic equipment and furnishings to help reduce set-up costs for smaller outfits.

Over in the Jurong area, JTC is drawing up plans for a medical technology cluster that will house sterilisation facilities, warehouses, laboratories, equipment manufacturers, suppliers and other supporting firms under one roof.

The cluster would be located next to Tukang Innovation Park and could be built in two phases, each measuring 40,000 square metres. The first phase could cost $60-80 million to develop.

According to JTC, the medical technology industry is headed for more growth. Singapore’s manufacturing output from the sector is expected to increase from $2.9 billion in 2008 to $5 billion by 2015.

Going by data from the Economic Development Board yesterday, the biomedical manufacturing sector (which includes medical technology and pharmaceutical activities) attracted $1.1 billion of fixed asset investment commitments in 2009.

JTC believes that the cluster environment would foster greater collaboration within the medical technology industry and lead to several benefits, such as faster product developments.

The agency is in talks with companies in the industry to obtain their feedback on the concept. If it takes off, the first phase of the cluster could be ready towards the middle or end of 2013.

JTC is also working on a concept for high-rise biologics plants. These plants would have plot ratios which are almost double those of traditional low-rise plants and would take up less land.

Source: Business Times, 26 Jan 2010

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