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Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the official opening of Hyphens Pharma International Limited's Corporate Headquarters & Integrated Facility

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the official opening of Hyphens Pharma International Limited's Corporate Headquarters & Integrated Facility

Mr Lim See Wah, Chairman, Executive Director and CEO, Hyphens Pharma, 

Distinguished Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,


1. A very good morning to all of you. I am delighted to join you today at the official opening of Hyphens Pharma International Limited. 

Singapore has invested and built strong capabilities in HBMS over the years, contributing to a thriving pharmaceutical industry that delivers both economic and health outcomes 

2. The Singapore biomedical manufacturing sector[1] is a key part of our economy, contributing ~3.3% of Singapore’s GDP in 2017. In particular, the manufacturing output from the pharmaceuticals and biologics sector has roughly doubled over the past 17 years to about S$17B in 2017[2]. The sector employs around 7,700 highly skilled workers2, providing good jobs for Singaporeans.

3. Globally, the healthcare industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% between 2016 and 2025, reaching US$2.69T by 2025[3]. Growth will be driven by the increase in healthcare needs due to a growing and ageing global population; increased healthcare spending by middle-class consumers in developing countries; and the emergence of new types of therapies to address unmet medical needs.

4. These expanding markets provide good prospects for the biopharmaceutical industry in Singapore. With the extensive capabilities built up through our investments in Health and Biomedical research, Singapore is well-placed to help our companies to tap these opportunities through innovation.

Local enterprises need to continue to innovate to build their competitive edge in the global market 

5. Hyphens Pharma is an example of an established homegrown specialty pharmaceutical company. Since its founding in 1986, Hyphens has achieved good growth over the years, with revenue crossing the $100 million mark in 2016. In May 2018, the company achieved the milestone of listing on the SGX. This was made possible through continued transformation of its business model, from being a pharmaceutical distributor, to in-licensing products, and eventually developing its own products and brands.

6. Hyphens Pharma’s dedication to innovation has helped them build a range of proprietary products and brands that are distributed locally as well as regionally. With an established presence in ASEAN countries, Hyphens Pharma is well-positioned to serve these fast-growing markets and the rising demand for quality healthcare products.

An open innovation model involving public-private sector collaboration is key to continued innovation, for improved growth and competitiveness of our pharmaceutical industry 

7. One of the key strengths of Singapore’s R&D ecosystem is the strong partnership between our companies and the public sector. Partnerships among local enterprises and key public sector organisations such as A*STAR, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), Ministry of Health (MOH), hospitals and the regulators are important to strengthen the growth and competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry. 

8. Since 2014, Hyphens Pharma has worked closely with A*STAR to co-develop innovative and differentiated dermatological products that address unmet medical needs. These collaborations are wide-ranging, spanning from product formulation, to technology transfer and licensing. For example, Hyphens licensed novel micro-emulsions technology from A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences for application in the field of atopic dermatitis. As a result of this collaboration, Hyphens Pharma has successfully formulated new consumer skincare products that are in the process of being brought to the market. 

9. I am happy to note that Hyphens will be signing an MOU with A*STAR today to deepen these collaborations, and further extend its range of products in the dermatological field. 

10. I am also glad to note Hyphens’ commitment to innovation extends to all aspects of their operations. Hyphens had worked with Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) and Republic Polytechnic’s Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management (COI-SCM) on the automation for their new facility, and how to lay it out for the most efficient workflow. I am optimistic that the facility, set up with the support of Enterprise Singapore’s Automation Support Package, will help Hyphens to improve productivity and help meet the increased demand for its products. 


11. Hyphens Pharma’s commitment to innovation and moving up the value chain serves as an excellent example for other local companies. Through its strong partnerships with public sector agencies, Hyphens has been able to develop new products that not only enabled it to sustain its growth and move into new markets, but also help improve the health and lives of people. 
12. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Hyphens Pharma on the official opening of its new facility. Thank you. 

[1] Biomedical manufacturing sector refers to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical technology/devices.

[2] Source: Census of Manufacturing Average. The Singapore biomanufacturing industry refers to biopharmaceutical manufacturing (pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors), excluding food and ingredients manufacturing.

[3] Source: Frost & Sullivan, Vision 2025 – The Future of Healthcare: Projecting Market Transformations and Growth Opportunities.

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