Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what is Singapore's current onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities; (b) to what extent these encompass the production process and supply chain for COVID-19 vaccines; and (c) whether and how soon Singapore can be positioned as a vaccine research and development and manufacturing hub for future and next-generation vaccines as part of future pandemic preparedness.
Written Answer by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan
1. Singapore currently does not produce finished vaccines, although we manufacture active components that go into making the final product, e.g., bacteria antigens. We are anchoring more vaccine manufacturing activities here not only to meet local demand but also to supply to the world. For example, BioNTech’s new plant in Singapore will begin manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines from 2023, while Thermo Fisher and Sanofi will manufacture a range of vaccines.
2. We are strengthening our research and innovation ecosystem to complement and support our biopharma manufacturing activities. For example, MOH launched the Programme for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response (PREPARE) this year. One of the thrusts of this programme is to develop research and technology platforms that can be used for both infectious and non-infectious disease vaccines. This would deepen our research capabilities, enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a vaccine development partner, and improve our access to potential vaccines during future epidemics.
3. Collectively, these efforts will strengthen and secure Singapore’s position as a leading pharmaceutical hub.