Mr Chen Show Mao: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) (a) how much has the Government invested in the biotechnology industry over the past 10 years; and (b) what is the return on the Government's investment in the biotechnology industry in terms of benefits to the Singapore economy.
- Between 2006 and 2015, the Government invested around $7.3 billion in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) sector in Singapore. This includes funding for BMS-related research and development (R&D), developing infrastructure and human capital, and building up translational and clinical research capabilities. The private sector investment commitment to the biomedical manufacturing industry as well as the business expenditure on research and development (BERD) in the BMS-related fields during this period, totalled around $13.7 billion.
- Today, the BMS sector is an important pillar of our economy, contributing about $26 billion in manufacturing output or 4% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Singapore is home to more than 50 BMS manufacturing plants, and the sector employs more than 25,000 people.
- Singapore's sustained investments in BMS have helped to strengthen our BMS eco-system and build up our capabilities in healthcare, drug development and medical devices innovation. This has also enabled our local enterprises to capture opportunities in the rapidly growing global healthcare market, which is projected to reach US$2.7 trillion by 2025. From 2010 to 2016, at least 48 local drug-development and related biotech firms were incorporated, double the number in the preceding decade. One local biotech firm, Tessa Therapeutics, recently came into global prominence when it announced a partnership with the renowned Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Tessa is currently conducting the world's first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Phase III cancer T-cell therapy trial.
- Notwithstanding these economic outcomes, it should be noted that investments in the BMS sector typically have long gestation periods and require sustained commitment. We will continue to invest in the BMS sector to grow our pool of talent, deepen our capabilities, and strengthen our BMS ecosystem.