Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how is Singapore facilitating the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines with the various pharmaceutical companies that we have established agreements with; and (b) learning from the COVID-19 situation, how is the Ministry ensuring that Singapore has the necessary capabilities within the country to produce vaccines for citizens' use in future pandemics.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing
1. Singapore has a globally competitive pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. Pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Pfizer, GSK and Sanofi, have invested here to leverage our skilled talent, commitment to research and development, strong manufacturing capabilities and excellent global connectivity.
2. We are in discussions with several pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics (V&Ts) out of Singapore. In this regard, one of the world’s largest life sciences companies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, recently announced that it would establish a new US$130 million Fill-and-Finish facility here to develop and manufacture V&Ts. This new facility will consist of two new filling lines, including a high-speed sterile line approved for live virus filling, the first such large scale capability in Singapore. Once operational in 2022, the facility will manufacture up to 30 million sterile doses per month. It will have the versatility to manufacture a wide variety of V&Ts, and enhance Singapore’s resilience to future pandemics beyond COVID-19.
3. Attracting V&T manufacturers to Singapore will also complement our continuing efforts to develop manufacturing executives with the niche skillsets needed for V&T manufacturing, and reinforce our strategy of nurturing local companies in the biomedical sciences industry, whose R&D and innovation activities can strengthen our response to future pandemics.