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Speech by Minister Iswaran at Accuron MedTech Technology Centre Opening

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SPEECH BY MR S. ISWARAN, MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION AND MINISTER-IN-CHARGE OF TRADE RELATIONS AT ACCURON MEDTECH TECHNOLOGY CENTRE OPENING ON 13 SEPTEMBER 2018, 10AM, AT 3 TUAS LANE

Mr. Philip Yeo, Chairman of Accuron MedTech Group

Mr. Abel Ang, Group CEO, Accuron MedTech

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Introduction

1.            It is my pleasure to join you this morning for the launch of Accuron MedTech Technology Centre (AMTC).  AMTC is the first medical technology incubator for Accuron MedTech globally.  This significant undertaking is also a strong testament to the Group’s commitment to invest in, and catalyse, the transformative innovation in Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem.

Accuron MedTech’s long-standing partnership with Singapore

2.            Since Temasek’s original investment in Dornier MedTech, the core urology business of what is today the Accuron MedTech Group, the Group has pioneered healthcare innovation for the benefit of patients on a global stage.  Today, Accuron MedTech is one of the largest medical device companies in Southeast Asia, employing more than 900 skilled workers in Singapore.

3.            In 2017, Accuron MedTech opened the Dornier MedTech Asia Pacific Headquarters and Global Clinical Innovation Centre here in Singapore.  The centre in Jurong is one of Singapore’s first medical technology companies to truly lead a global clinical research, regulatory and commercialisation strategy for a breakthrough medtech technology, Dornier Aries.

4.            The Group’s ongoing investments in Singapore-based deep-tech startups to spur future growth opportunities are in line with the Committee on the Future Economy’s (CFE) recommendations to envision new pathways for Singapore’s economic development, and foster partnerships within the ecosystem that will enable innovation and growth.  Accuron MedTech’s continued emphasis on innovation and value creation will undoubtedly strengthen its position as a regional and global frontrunner in the medtech sector.

Singapore, a Gateway to Asia for Medtech Companies

5.            Medtech plays an increasingly important role in improving the quality of our lives by diagnosing, monitoring and treating conditions and diseases that affect our health.  The Asia Pacific region is home to more than half the world’s population, and its demand for healthcare is expected to increase significantly.  According to a McKinsey report, the Asia-Pacific’s medtech sector is expected to grow 50% from US$88b in 2015 to US$133b in 2020, making it the second-largest medtech market in the world.

6.            Medtech companies in Singapore produce a wide range of products, from contact lenses and pacemakers to life science tools and diagnostics equipment.  In 2016, the medtech manufacturing sector in Singapore generated a total output of more than S$11.5 billion, and hired 13,900 employees. The government has identified medtech as a key sector within the biomedical sciences industry for development.

7.            Today, Singapore has over 240 healthcare startups, with capabilities in areas such as digital pathology, diagnostic imaging, and cardiovascular implants.  Multinationals are also establishing a home in Singapore, and we have anchored over 60 regional headquarters and more than 30 research & development (R&D) centres from leading medtech firms.  Our vibrant and growing medtech ecosystem put us in good stead to unlock rich opportunities in regional and global markets.

Open Innovation and Industry Partnerships Enhance Competitive Advantage of Singapore’s Medtech Sector

8.            The medtech world has been upended by a variety of transformative technologies, like nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, and innovative business models that reduce costs and reach a wider consumer base.  Against this backdrop, medtech companies can no longer solely rely on in-house capabilities.  A Forbes survey found that a majority of medtech companies expect innovation to happen through partnerships.  Therefore, open innovation will become even more important as stakeholders from diverse and highly specialised industries cooperate and develop new approaches to R&D.

9.            The Accuron MedTech Technology Centre embodies this spirit of open innovation.  As an incubator for new disruptive technologies, AMTC will house design, digital innovation and healthcare, as well as facilities and spaces for co-creation and prototyping.  AMTC’s work will help bring together different stakeholders, including startups and entrepreneurs, to develop and test-bed integrated, next-generation healthcare solutions.  More importantly, entrepreneurs and corporations can take advantage of this environment to learn from the experiences of the Group’s management team, as they prepare to commercialise their technologies globally.  I look forward to seeing more of such win-win partnerships, which will further strengthen our medtech eco-system.

10.         The Government will do its part by continuing to nurture and support collaborations between the private and public sectors.  One example is Singapore’s Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, a diagnostic platform led by A*STAR, to allow key stakeholders, including clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals, to come together to fast track the development of clinically-validated, market-ready diagnostic tools and solutions.  Such platforms offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to harness experience and knowledge in navigating the highly regulated product development process, from research to manufacturing and commercialisation.  I encourage more companies to tap on these platforms to strengthen their capabilities, so as to capture opportunities in the region and beyond.

11.         We must also equip our workforce with the necessary skills and capabilities to benefit from Asia’s rapidly growing healthcare sector.  To this end, the Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) at Duke-NUS aims to build a pipeline of regulatory talent, with the ability to help global medtech companies accelerate the delivery of new products to regional markets.  Singaporeans can look forward to new and exciting job opportunities in our medtech sector, ranging from technical specialist and commercial roles, to regulatory affairs and R&D.

Conclusion

12.         In closing, I would like to congratulate Accuron MedTech again on the launch of the AMTC, and I am confident that Accuron MedTech’s long-standing partnership with Singapore will continue to broaden and deepen in the years to come.  I wish you every success in your ventures.  Thank you.

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DATE PUBLISHED 13 Sep 2018
LAST UPDATED 13 Sep 2018
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