Singapore in talks with several pharmas to manufacture vaccines, therapeutics locally: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore in talks with several pharmas to manufacture vaccines, therapeutics locally: Chan Chun Sing

A Thermo Fisher scientist fills up a vial in a lab. (Photo: Thermo Fisher Scientific)
A Thermo Fisher scientist fills up a vial in a lab. (Photo: Thermo Fisher Scientific)

SINGAPORE: The Government is in discussions with several pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics in Singapore, with a US$130 million facility in the pipeline, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday (Apr 5).

"Singapore has a globally competitive pharmaceutical manufacturing sector," said Mr Chan in a written answer to a parliamentary question from Member of Parliament Yip Hon Weng (PAP-Yio Chu Kang).

"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," Mr Chan added.

Mr Yip had asked the minister how Singapore is facilitating the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines with the various pharmaceutical firms which it has established agreements with.

He also asked how the Ministry of Trade and Industry is "ensuring that Singapore has the necessary capabilities within the country to produce vaccines for citizens' use in future pandemics".

In his response, Mr Chan cited plans to build a US$130 million "fill-and-finish" facility to develop and manufacture vaccines and therapeutics.

The project was announced in October 2020 by Thermo Fisher Scientific, "one of the world's largest life sciences companies", said Mr Chan

"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," he added.

Once operational in 2022, the plant will manufacture up to 30 million sterile doses a month, said the minister.

"It will have the versatility to manufacture a wide variety of vaccines and therapeutics, and enhance Singapore’s resilience to future pandemics beyond COVID-19," he added.

READ: Singapore now able to produce filters for surgical masks, will be distributed to residents if needed

Attracting such manufacturers to Singapore will also complement the Government's continuing efforts to develop executives with the niche skill sets needed for vaccines and therapeutics manufacturing, Mr Chan said.

The efforts will also "reinforce our strategy of nurturing local companies in the biomedical sciences industry, whose research and development and innovation activities can strengthen our response to future pandemics", he added.

In its announcement in October, Thermo Fisher said the facility will be able to "meet demand in the region and respond effectively to future health emergencies".

In addition to the two filling lines, the facility will also have cleanroom capacity, labs, warehousing and offices to support production, said the company.

The facility, which will be established with the support of the Economic Development Board, will employ more than 300 people.

Source: CNA/jt(ta)

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