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In 2019, we saw Asia developing itself into a major hub for medtech and biopharma activities for both local as well multinational companies. Biotech companies in the region entered into partnerships with leading global biopharmaceutical companies on both the R&D and commercial fronts. Now, as we enter into 2020, the industry plans to further rise in the medtech, biopharma and startups space within Asia focusing on applied research, new technologies, affordability and manageability.


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Published by MMA Media, 2020-01-03 05:14:18

BioSpectrum Asia Jan 2020


In 2019, we saw Asia developing itself into a major hub for medtech and biopharma activities for both local as well multinational companies. Biotech companies in the region entered into partnerships with leading global biopharmaceutical companies on both the R&D and commercial fronts. Now, as we enter into 2020, the industry plans to further rise in the medtech, biopharma and startups space within Asia focusing on applied research, new technologies, affordability and manageability.


Keywords: Business

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Chief Editor Some scientists seems to be not only testing the rules of science, but challenging the
ethics of it. After the controversy over the genetically edited babies in China, now
[email protected] Chinese scientists as well as in US and some other countries are trying to create an
image of a person’s face using the DNA sample.

New York Times (NYT) has claimed this, describing its social and racial angle also, in
an investigative article published recently. The technique being used is DNA phenotyping
to create the image of a face. The technique analyses the genes associated with traits
like skin & eye colour, ancestry to predict how the sample donor may look like. However,
the results of the technique are still not perfect as the images it produces are not precise
reflection of the original face to identify a specific individual. This is probably because a
face is determined by various other factors than only skin & eye colour and ancestry and
add to that weight and age of the person. The efforts are on to reach to the level of a perfect
image of an original.

The technology is also being developed in the US and in some other counties. Still,
the development is in early stage. However, the image prepared through the technology
seemed to be fairly recognisable as it was used in tracing accused in criminal cases.

Though the experiments are taking place in other parts of the world also, in case of
China certain questions are being raised on racial and ethical points. NYT had claimed
earlier that China was already researching on facial recognition technology and using
DNA to decide a person’s ethnicity for ethnic division. Hence, the scientific international
community (and also human right activists) claim that China is using these technologies
for “questionable purpose”. Questions are raised over the method of collection of blood for
such large DNA samples though China claimed it to be a voluntary act. But allegations are
that the samples are collected under the pretext of compulsory health check-up.

China is facing the questions because of, among other issues, an incident a year back
in which a scientist engineered mutations into human embryos which were then used to
produce babies. Twin girls born with edited genes raised ethical questions because it was
against 2015 guidelines of International summit on human gene editing which said, “if,
in the process of research, early human embryos undergo gene editing, the modified cells
should not be used to establish a pregnancy.”

Still, when the experiments for face imaging are ongoing in other countries too,
scientific community raising questions criticising only China on scientific issues seems
incorrect. DNA, genes, genome etc. are in the news everywhere for different experiments
and projects related to them. While in China it is under scanner due to the allegedly
controversial acts, in Asia it is in news for providing insights into ancestry and genetic
diversity. Further, in Abu Dhabi it is in news because of government launching ground
breaking, first of its kind worldwide population genome programme to improve health
and well-being of the people.

The programme in Abu Dhabi will apparently enrich the current data by producing
a reference genome specific to UAE citizens and drive large scale scientific discovery.
Its successful outcome will equip healthcare practitioners with high quality information
enabling them to provide advanced diagnosis and treatment.

Asia’s GenomeAsia 100K consortium analyzed the genomes of 1,739 people, which
represents the widest coverage of genetic diversity in Asia to date. Launched in 2016, the
study, covering 64 countries, provides “the first comprehensive genetic map for Asia” that
will guide scientists in studying diseases unique to Asians.

No wonder that there is a lot of rush to study genes in more details as they are believed
to be providing new healthcare solutions which will be more personalised and hence more
effective. But research on them will also open the Pandora ’s Box. To control that, the
scientific community will have to frame a stricter ethical framework.



wishes its
Good cover story in the December edition. Readers,
Collaboration is key to a variety of sectors and
industries but is particularly important for Contributors,
pharmaceutical companies. Collaborating with a Advertisers
company that has the technology at its disposal and Associates
sends out a positive message for innovation.

- E. Morris, Singapore

Escalated Effect

Though US and China have tried to avoid disputes
that directly affect national health care, the trade
war is generated escalated effects. Hoping that
the countries will reach an agreement on this
trade dispute as soon as possible to improve and
safeguard health care for their citizens.

- Shivani Batra, India

Vol 15; Issue 01; January 2020 MM Activ Singapore Pte. Ltd. Taiwan
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Reprinted in India for private Circulation



COVERStory 21


In 2019, we saw Asia developing itself into a major hub for medtech and biopharma
activities for both local as well multinational companies. Biotech companies in the
region entered into partnerships with leading global biopharmaceutical companies on
both the R&D and commercial fronts. Now, as we enter into 2020, the industry plans
to further rise in the medtech, biopharma and startups space within Asia focusing on
applied research, new technologies, affordability and manageability.

COVERStory 29

2020 2025


Why Future
Sanofi Medicines:
spent Digital Pills

billion on
a startup?



Certa Therapeutics - developing SHARE
treatment for chronic kidney disease
Connect with us

“With growth of ageing population, BioSpectrumMag
robotic rehabilitation market will
continue to rise in APAC” BioSpectrumMagazine
Barry Hes,
General Manager, DIH Pte Ltd, Singapore /BS-LinkedIn

Spotlight on
Genomic Profiling


Need to capitalize on regenerative


Dr Pradeep Mahajan,
CMD, StemRx Bioscience Solutions, Mumbai, India

REGULARS WHO News.................................15
World News...............................16
BioEdit.........................................04 R&D News..................................43
BioMail........................................05 Academics News......................45
Regulatory News......................08 Supplier News...........................46
Company News........................10 People News..............................48
Finance News............................12
Start-Up News...........................13


Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo

600 exhibitors showcase illustrating
revolutionary approaches & technology



Glenmark Malaysia proposes Health
Together policy
The Ministry of Health (KKM) Malaysia has filed a new policy,
approval for known as ‘Dasar Sihat Bersama 2030’ (healthy together policy),
for the approval from the Cabinet. The policy outlines three pillars,
Ryaltris in Australia namely the public sector transformation, private sector regulatory
reform and sustainable health financing system. According to
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, the policy, which is in the form of a
announced that Seqirus has received long-term plan, is the ministry’s main agenda in transforming
marketing approval for Ryaltris health system in the country, in line with the Shared Prosperity
from the Therapeutic Goods Vision 2030 launched in October 2019. This is a comprehensive
Administration (TGA), Australia. and holistic plan on how healthcare reform is going to be
This paves the way for the launch implemented in Malaysia and the policy would emphasise on
of Ryaltris in Australia through preventive and promotive healthcare while continuing to enhance
the partner, Seqirus. Australia will the existing healthcare services. Under the policy, the ministry
be the first market globally where would also introduce an electronic medical record (EMR) system
Ryaltris will be launched. Seqirus, that stores the record of public health centres’ patients across the
part of Australia-based specialty country.
biotechnology company CSL Ltd.,
entered into an exclusive licensing Korea builds ambitious
agreement in July 2018 with plans for biotech research
Glenmark’s subsidiary Glenmark
Specialty S.A. to commercialize The Incheon Metropolitan City government in South Korea has
Ryaltris in Australia. Ryaltris is a announced an ambitious plan for developing the Songdo Global
new fixed-dose combination nasal Biotech Cluster in the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Aiming to
spray of an antihistamine and a attract global advanced biotechnology companies and research
steroid, indicated for treatment of institutions, the city authorities will expand the industrial complex
symptoms associated with allergic by adding the 11th Songdo industrial block with space of 990,000
rhinitis (AR) and rhinoconjunctivitis square meters to the 4th, 5th and 7th Songdo industrial blocks
in patients over 12 years of age. with space of 910,000 square meters. They will develop Songdo
Under the terms of the agreement, region as the world-level global biotech hub by connecting the
Glenmark will be responsible for industrial complex with projected nearby Songdo Severance
product supply and Seqirus will be Hospital and a science park. Targeting to analyze major tasks for
responsible for regulatory filing and expanding the Songdo Biotech Cluster and work out a feasible
commercialization of the product master plan by the end of the year, the city government is currently
in Australia. Glenmark is entitled conducting contracted research. The research includes ways of
to receive commercial milestone exploring demand for new investors, attracting major facilities,
payments from Seqirus. Ryaltris and fostering Korean biotech companies in the cluster.
will be manufactured at Glenmark’s
Baddi manufacturing facility,
Himachal Pradesh, India.



Singapore approves India inks MoU with
France to promote S&T
new early breast
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been
cancer drug signed between the Council of Scientific & Industrial
Research (CSIR), India and the National Centre for
A new breast cancer drug shown to significantly Scientific Research (CNRS), France to establish a
reduce the risk of cancer recurrence has framework for cooperation between the two towards
received approval in Singapore, at least promotion and support of scientific and technological
six months ahead of its expected schedule. research. In view of the potentially beneficial and
The drug, NERLYNX (neratinib), is an oral synergistic cooperation possibilities for translating
medication taken by women with breast cancer science into technology, CSIR and CNRS may explore
who have had surgery, chemotherapy and strengthening their cooperation to foster joint
prior trastuzumab-based therapy. It has been innovation and transfer of technologies applicable
shown to significantly reduce the ongoing risk to India or/and France and to other nations. This
of recurrence in HER2+ early breast cancer cooperation could include sharing good practices,
patients, with the greatest benefit seen in promoting technology transfer and enhancing
women who are also hormone-receptor positive industry-academia cooperation. The broad research
(HR+) and who commence therapy within areas of mutual interest include biotechnology
12 months of completing trastuzumab-based including plant and marine biotechnology; health
therapy. For these women, the five-year risk research; environment and climate change studies;
of recurrence is reduced by up to 42 per cent. engineering science and technology; material science
NERLYNX is being made available in the region and technology; energy science and technology and
by independent pharmaceutical company, water research.
Specialised Therapeutics Asia (STA) under
exclusive license from Puma Biotechnology Inc.

Switzerland partners with BioAsia2020

Switzerland is widely known for and startups. This, coupled with the investing over CHF 1.5 Billion in R&D,
innovation in big pharma with ease of doing business and policies yearly. With the theme of, Today For
the presence of eminent pharma to attract and retain talent, makes Tomorrow, BioAsia 2020, to be held
and life-sciences companies like Switzerland the breeding ground between 17th to 19th February 2020
Novartis, Roche, Lonza, Ferring for cutting-edge technologies and at Hyderabad, India will explore
Pharma, etc. The country is looking solutions. Switzerland’s strength in the capabilities that Life sciences
to forge closer ties with India which health tech is unparalleled with over companies should invest in Today to
has grown to be a significant player 1,400 companies employing 58,500 thrive and create value Tomorrow.
in life sciences industry globally professionals and generating CHF
and has now partnered with the life 15.8 Billion in revenue (in 2018).
sciences convention BioAsia, as the Swiss MedTech industry contributes
Country Partner for the 17th edition, 2.3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
BioAsia 2020. Switzerland has a The Swiss Biotech industry alone is
thriving ecosystem that’s hugely home to 312 companies, generating
powered by innovation in academia a revenue of CHF 4 Billion whilst



Biocon & Merck, Ping An Good Doctor to
Equillium expand advance healthcare in China
collaboration to
Australia, NZ Merck, a leading science and technology company, has signed
a strategic collaboration agreement with one of the world’s
India headquartered Biocon and US leading healthcare ecosystem platforms, Ping An Healthcare and
based Equillium Inc., a clinical-stage Technology Company Limited. In line with the Healthy China
biotechnology company leveraging Initiative (2019-2030), the two companies will jointly explore
deep understanding of immunobiology integrated solutions to advance intelligent healthcare in China
to develop products to treat severe and to address needs of Chinese patients that are still unmet.
autoimmune and inflammatory The collaboration will leverage Merck’s medical expertise,
disorders, have announced that they high-quality medicines and innovative solutions and Ping An
have expanded their collaboration Good Doctor’s extensive experience in AI medical technology,
and license agreement for itolizumab insurance provision and online and offline healthcare resources to
to grant Equillium exclusive rights develop an integrated one-stop healthcare solution. Aligned with
for developing and commercializing the government initiatives to improve the hierarchical medical
itolizumab in Australia and New system and high-quality medical resources sinking, Merck and
Zealand. Equillium had originally Ping An Good Doctor will also jointly explore how to break down
secured exclusive rights to develop the barrier between online and offline healthcare by means of
and commercialize Biocon’s novel innovative retail models connecting retail pharmacies, hospitals
biologic, itolizumab, for the US and and primary healthcare in rural areas and by establishing an
Canada markets, in May 2017. omni-channel retail system.
Itolizumab is a novel first-in-class
humanized anti-CD6 monoclonal
antibody, which Biocon developed
and launched in India under the
brand name ALZUMAb to treat
moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
in 2013. In 2017, Biocon partnered
with Equillium for this promising
asset to develop it for a wide range of
autoimmune disorders.

Eisai breaks ground for global drug discovery centre

Japan based pharmaceutical order for the Tsukuba Research centre, a major renovation is
company Eisai has had a Laboratories to continue to play conducted with a key concept
groundbreaking ceremony for a the central role also in the next Human Connected Laboratories:
major renovation of its Tsukuba generation innovation creation Laboratories Connecting Human
Research Laboratories (as part as Eisai’s global drug discovery and Human, and Data, and the
of strategic investment to realize World. This renovation aims to
Eisai’s medium-term business accelerate the further knowledge
plan EWAY2025). Since the circulation by connecting each
opening in 1982, the Tsukuba researcher with patients, other
Research Laboratories has led members at the Tsukuba Research
the creation of innovation by Laboratories, the research
discovering the cutting-edge sites in the world, and external
drugs including Aricept, Pariet, researchers, as well as developing
Lenvima and Fycompa over the the environment for the further
last approximate 40 years. In digitalization era.



GeneMedicine, WuXi ATU to
build oncolytic virus products

WuXi ATU, a subsidiary of

China based WuXi AppTec,

and GeneMedicine, a South

Korea-based gene therapy

biotechnology company, have

formed a strategic partnership

for the development and

manufacturing of oncolytic

Mankind, Glenmark virus products. Under the
to co-market anti-
diabetes drug in India terms of the collaboration,

Mankind Pharmaceuticals and WuXi ATU will provide organization (CDMO)
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals have
inked a sub-licensing agreement overall process development, platform, which has been
to co-market sodium glucose
co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) manufacturing and jointly run by WuXi ATU
inhibitor, Remogliflozin Etabonate
(Remogliflozin) in India. Under the Investigational New Drug and GeneSail Biotech since
agreement, Mankind will market
the drug under its own trademark (IND) filing services for August 2019. The partnership
while Glenmark will manufacture
and supply Remogliflozin to GeneMedicine’s oncolytic marks yet another milestone
Mankind. In April 2019, Glenmark
received approval from the Drugs virus products. This is the for WuXi ATU to offer the
Controller General of India (DCGI)
for Remogliflozin Etabonate after first international Chemistry, CMC development and
successfully completing Phase-3
clinical trials. During the trials Manufacturing and Controls manufacturing of oncolytic
Remogliflozin demonstrated good
efficacy and safety profile in a (CMC) development and virus products that meet
head-to-head comparison against
Dapagliflozin. Subsequently, manufacturing project global standards, enabling
Glenmark launched Remogliflozin
indicated in the treatment of empowered by the Oncolytic global customers to bring
Type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults
under the brand names ‘Remo’ Virus contract development advanced therapies to
and ‘Remozen’. Remogliflozin has
been launched at a breakthrough and manufacturing patients far faster.
price that is significantly lower
and cost-effective over other Terason partners with
SGLT2 inhibitors available in the Anker Biomedical for OSA
country. In fact, Remogliflozin is
the only SGLT-2 inhibitor to be Terason, the world’s leading ultrasound imaging company
manufactured in India from an
active pharmaceutical ingredient headquartered in the US, has partnered with Taiwan based
(API) to the formulation.
Anker Biomedical (AmCad BioMed Corporation) to provide

ultrasound imaging technology for AmCAD-UO, Anker’s

innovative obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) solution. The

partnership addresses the market’s strong demand for more

efficient solutions that help physicians assess the risks of OSA,

which affects more than 425 million people worldwide.

AmCAD-UO is the world’s first FDA-approved upper respiratory

tract assessment solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to

analyze and reconstruct

upper airway ultrasound

images taken from

conscious patients, using

Terason’s ultrasound

imaging technology.

This allows doctors to

more quickly assess the

underlying cause of sleep apnea and

to assess patients with moderate /

severe OSA.



GE Healthcare, GDD invest $10M in bioprocess academy

GE Healthcare Life Sciences and the Guangzhou Academy will train biopharmaceutical professionals
Development District Investment Promotion Bureau in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay
(GDD) have signed an agreement to jointly invest Area and beyond. The training centre is expected to
$10 million in setting up the Guangzhou Bioprocess open in September 2020 and train more than 1,000
Academy, a training centre for biopharmaceutical people annually.
professionals. Located on the Guangzhou International
Bio Island in China, the centre will provide single-use
bioprocessing training aligned with GMP standards,
sustaining the growth of the biopharmaceutical talent
pool in the Guangdong province. The Guangzhou
Bioprocess Academy will offer biopharmaceutical
manufacturing training on the latest biologic drug
production processes. GE Healthcare Life Sciences
will support the delivery of education courses while
providing single-use equipment and dedicated Fast
Track course trainers. The Guangzhou Bioprocess

Astellas acquires Eris buys Zomelis from
Audentes Therapeutics Novartis AG for $13M
in a $3B deal
India based Eris Lifesciences has announced
Japan headquartered Astellas Pharma Inc. and the acquisition of the trademark Zomelis (for
US based Audentes Therapeutics, Inc. have Vildagliptin based formulations) and its associated
entered into a definitive agreement for Astellas trademarks from Novartis AG, Switzerland for a
to acquire Audentes at a price of $60.00 per consideration of $13 million. Zomelis is used in
share in cash, representing a total equity value the treatment of type 2 diabetes and comes under
of approximately $3 billion. The acquisition a new class of anti-diabetic drugs known as DPP
of Audentes represents a key step in the 4 inhibitors. The company has started selling the
expansion of the Astellas Focus Area approach, product from December 10 in the Indian market.
under which Astellas strives to create Eris is among the top 10 players in the anti-diabetes
innovative medicines for diseases with high drugs segment in the Indian Pharmaceutical Market
unmet medical needs by identifying unique (IPM). This is the first innovator pharmaceutical
combinations of biology and therapeutic product trademark acquisition by Eris. The
modality/technology based on emerging company did four acquisitions earlier. In December
science. In addition to the existing primary 2017, Eris acquired the branded business portfolio
focus in which Astellas currently prioritizes its of Strides Shasun in a deal worth Rs 500 crore
investment, with the acquisition of Audentes, gaining a foothold, inter-alia, in the CNS drug
the company is adding a focus in genetic segment. Three earlier acquisitions of UTH,
regulation, under which gene therapy will be a Kinedex and Amay Pharma (trademarks) provided
key driver of the company’s future growth. entry for Eris in the nutraceuticals, women health,
IVF, etc.



Australia’s MRCF leads $8.8M Lucence
funding for Pathios Therapeutics raises $20M
to advance
UK based Pathios liquid biopsy
Therapeutics Limited, an
innovative biotech company Lucence, a Singapore
focused on the development based genomic medicine
of first-in-class therapies startup that invents blood-
for autoimmune diseases based tests for cancer
and cancer, has announced screening and treatment
a $8.8M Series A financing selection, has announced
round with leading the close of $20 million in
international healthcare investors Canaan and Australia’s Medical Series A funding.
Research Commercialisation Fund managed by Brandon Capital (MRCF). The round was led by IHH
Pathios’ drug discovery programme is aimed at modulating the activity of Healthcare, one of the
GPR65, a critical regulator of T-cells and tumour associated macrophages. world’s largest integrated
The company targets its signalling in cells of the immune system. Many private healthcare groups.
pathological environments are characterized by abnormally acidic pH SGInnovate, together
which signals to local immune cells leading to profound and unfavourable with existing investors
changes in their characteristics. A key mediator of these effects is GPR65 Temasek Holdings
which is highly expressed on cells of both the adaptive and innate immune subsidiary Heliconia
systems. Pathios is developing novel drugs to suppress the harmful Capital, Lim Kaling, Koh
signalling brought about by GPR65. Boon Hwee and others,
also participated in the
NSG BioLabs launches co- round. This funding will
working space for startups enable the company to
provide its liquid biopsy
NSG BioLabs, a Singapore based incubator founded to provide a technology to more
conducive R&D environment to life sciences companies, had its official patients across Asia
launch recently. The co-working laboratory and office space are located and North America for
at Biopolis Road, Singapore’s international research and development personalized treatment
hub for biomedical sciences. NSG BioLabs’ site is the first of its kind in selection. Lucence will
Singapore that is designed specifically to help grow biotech start-ups. At also embark on new
15,000 sq. ft., it is also the largest centre of its kind and will offer companies prospective clinical studies
and entrepreneurs with a flexible and fully-equipped environment that can to evaluate its technology
help biotech firms and investors leverage Singapore’s research strength for the early detection of
to innovate breakthrough biotech ventures. NSG BioLabs will serve as an multiple cancers.
incubator for small biotech start-ups, ranging from those with just one
researcher to those with 30 people. It has 120 desks, 96 lab benches, eight
office suites and six meeting rooms. Companies will have access to a wide
array of lab equipment, including microscopes, autoclaves and centrifuges.



Zumutor Biologics Hui-Gene gathers
secures $4M to enable $14M in Series A
pivotal milestones
China’s biotechnology startup Hui-Gene Therapeutics
US headquartered biotech startup Zumutor has successfully raised $14 in its Series A financing
Biologics with its R&D facility in Bengaluru, India round. Founded in 2018, Hui-Gene Therapeutics focuses
has raised $4 Million in series A2 funding taking in biotechnology services gene editing and biomedical
its total raise to $20Million. The round includes research. The company is currently situated in a 500 sq
funding by new investor Bharat Innovation Fund metre gene therapy research and development laboratory,
(BIF) with participation from its existing investor, comprising of gene editing technology platforms, AAV
Accel Partners. Zumutor’s growth strategy is technology platforms, disease model animal platforms,
focused on Natural Killer (NK) cell activating and process transformation and production platforms.
targets. The startup’s first-in-class lead molecule, Following the successful fundraising, Hui-Gene
ZM 008 has made industry validated progress Therapeutics will use the funds to enhance its biomedical
and is poised for IND filing with Phase 1a/1b research and development capabilities, as well as
clinical trials likely to commence end 2020. This establish a drug production facility which adheres to
Series A 2 funding will enable pivotal milestones good manufacturing practices. The company will also
in development stages. look to increase its focus on pre-clinical trials, and
continue to look into areas such as single-gene disorders.

GE Healthcare picks startups for Edison platform

GE Healthcare has announced entries were evaluated based
the First Cohort of their on the strength of the business
first startup collaboration idea/plan, maturity and the
programme on the Edison closeness to productize their
platform, Edison[X] - Startups solution, team capabilities
powered by GE Healthcare’ in and relevance to defined
India. Six start-ups- Synapsica, focus areas among others.
DeepTek, 5C Network, Cancer Edison[X] - Startups powered
Moonshot, ORBO AI and by GE Healthcare is providing
Predible have been shortlisted a zero-equity cash-in-grant of
for developing solutions on $10000 to each of the selected
the Edison platform for some startups. In addition, they will
of the toughest healthcare have access to mentorship,
challenges existing today. The skill development programs,
applications received were commercial and regulatory
screened through a three-stage guidance, and data provision as
process and the shortlisted additional benefits.



WHO gets new advice WHO prequalifies first
on curbing NCDs biosimilar medicine

World leaders and health experts, have handed World Health Organization (WHO) has prequalified
8 recommendations to WHO’s Director-General, its first biosimilar medicine, trastuzumab, in a
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that could move that could make this expensive, life-saving
save millions of lives and promote mental health. treatment more affordable and available to women
The WHO Independent High-level Commission globally. Breast cancer is the most common form
on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was of cancer in women. 2.1 million women contracted
convened by Dr Tedros in October 2017 to identify breast cancer in 2018. Trastuzumab, a monoclonal
innovative ways to curb the world’s leading causes antibody, was included in the WHO Essential
of death: cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, Medicines List in 2015 as an essential treatment for
about 20 per cent of breast cancers. It has shown
respiratory diseases and high efficacy in curing early stage breast cancer and
mental health conditions. in some cases more advanced forms of the disease.
The report laid out a set of The medicine, supplied by Samsung Bioepis NL
8 recommendations for B.V. (Netherlands), was assessed by WHO and
WHO: Encourage Heads found comparable to the originator product in
of State and Government terms of efficacy, safety and quality. That means
to fulfil their commitment it is eligible for procurement by United Nations
to provide strategic agencies and for national tenders.
leadership; Support countries in efforts to empower
individuals to make healthy choices; Encourage
countries to invest in the prevention and control
of NCDs and mental health conditions; Advise
countries to include services to prevent and treat
NCDs and mental health as essential components of
Universal Health Coverage; Ensure that no one falls
into poverty; Increase engagement with businesses
and provide technical support to Member States;
Encourage governments to promote meaningful
engagement with civil society; and Advocate for the
establishment of a multi-donor trust fund to support
countries in activities to reduce NCDs and promote
mental health.

WHO highlights malaria decline in SEA Region

As WHO South-East Asia (SEA) November 2017, reaffirming their technologies to keep up the
Region continues to register a commitment and emphasizing momentum to end malaria by
steep decline in malaria incidence, the need for new funding and 2030. This was followed by a Call
the World Health Organization to Action adopted by countries
reiterated accelerated concerted of Greater Mekong Sub-region
efforts by member countries to (GMS) May 2018. The Six GMS
achieve zero malaria by 2030. member countries, two from
The WHO SEA Region, home WHO South East Asia Region –
to one-fourth of the world’s Myanmar and Thailand – have
population, has been prioritizing stepped up collaboration to
malaria elimination. Member address resistance of malaria
countries adopted a ‘Ministerial parasites to antimalarial drugs,
Declaration on Accelerating and including artemisinin, by
Sustaining Malaria Elimination eliminating malaria altogether
in the South-East Asia Region’ in from the Mekong by 2030.



South Africa ranks third
in HIV research

Merck takes According to a new study, South with Eastern and Southern Africa
Ebola vaccine Africa is the third top producer alone having 20.6 million people
to Africa of HIV/AIDS-related research living with HIV. The University of
globally. New data by Elsevier, Cape Town in South Africa came
Merck, known as MSD which analysed HIV/AIDS- top globally for producing highly
outside the United States related research published from influential HIV/AIDS research in
and Canada, has announced 2014 to 2018, shows that South terms of citations.
that the US Food and Drug Africa comes after the United
Administration (FDA) has Kingdom and United States as
approved ERVEBO (Ebola top producers of HIV/AIDS-
Zaire Vaccine, Live) for related research. HIV is still a
the prevention of disease major public health problem
caused by Zaire ebolavirus globally. According to the Joint
in individuals 18 years United Nations Programme on
of age and older. Merck HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were
has made submissions to about 37.9 million people across
African country national the globe with HIV/AIDS in 2018,
regulatory authorities in
collaboration with the Africa receives more
African Vaccine Regulatory funding to fight TB, Malaria
Forum (AVAREF) that
will allow the vaccine to Following a record-breaking replenishment in October 2019, the Global
be registered in African Fund has announced its largest-ever funding allocations for eligible
countries considered to be countries to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and build systems for
at-risk for Ebola outbreaks health over the next three years. Most eligible countries have increased
by the WHO. Merck allocations, and every region is getting more funding overall. Countries in
continues to work urgently Africa are receiving around $2 billion more than in the previous period,
with its partners to ensure and countries in West & Central Africa have the biggest increase $780
uninterrupted access to the million. The allocations include increased investments in Eastern and
investigational Ebola Zaire Southern Africa for HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young
vaccine (V920) in support women; more funding for the countries with the highest burden of TB in
of ongoing international Africa and Asia; more funding for African countries with a high burden of
response efforts in the malaria, and increased focus in the Sahel region to boost vector control
Democratic Republic of and seasonal prevention campaigns.
the Congo and neighboring
countries. Merck has, to
date, shipped more than
275,000 1.0mL doses of
V920 based on requests by
the WHO.



Why Sanofi spent $2.5
billion on a startup?

On December 9, 2019, Sanofi announced that it is buying a US based clinical-stage biotechnology
company Synthorx for a whopping $2.5 billion, almost double its market value. Is it simply a hasty
decision to add one more company to its bouquet of acquisitions or a calculated move?

Sanofi and Synthorx, a US based clinical-stage 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a wide
biotechnology company focused on prolonging range of therapeutic areas such as hematology,
and improving the lives of people suffering inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory
from cancer and autoimmune disorders, entered diseases. All these acquisitions last year were
into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi will instrumental in shaping the firm’s new strategy.
acquire all of the outstanding shares of Synthorx.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Sanofi Is Synthorax worth the billions?
will commence a cash tender offer to acquire all of
the outstanding shares of Synthorx common stock Oncology is a hot market for the pharma firms,
for $68 per share in cash for a total enterprise value especially the immune-oncology segment. Sanofi’s
of approximately $2.35 billion. The $68 per share acquisition comes at a time when other big pharma
acquisition price represents a 172 per cent premium players are also betting big on the oncology market.
to Synthorx’s closing price on December 6, 2019. This According to Grand View Research, the global cancer
marks the first acquisition of Sanofi under new CEO immunotherapy market will more than double to
Paul Hudson. $126.9 billion by 2026 from 2018. Sanofi is obviously
eying a bigger piece of this pie.
This is also the company’s first multi-billion
acquisition since early January 2018, when Sanofi Earlier this year, in Feb 2019, the firm announced
acquired Bioverativ, a spinoff by Biogen for about that Sanofi has increased its R&D focus on specialty
$11.6 billion, to expand its presence in specialty care therapy areas (Oncology, Immunology, Rare
care and strengthens leadership in rare diseases. Disease d Rare Blood Disorder) while maintaining
About a week later, on January 29, 2018, Sanofi its commitment to vaccines. The company also
acquired Belgium-based Ablynx for approx. $4.2 accelerated the development of 17 programmes,
billion, Ablynx is at the leading edge of Nanobody including 8 in Oncology. Thirteen development
technology supporting a deep pipeline of more than projects and 25 research projects were being
discontinued to enhance the company’s focus on



delivering first and best in class medicines. are not candidates for curative surgery or curative
Sanofi is bullish on cancer research and has put radiation. Libtayo is a fully-human monoclonal
antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor
the focus on oncology, with 28 candidates in the PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) and is the
pipeline, followed by 18 for immuno-inflammation first and only treatment specifically approved and
(as of December 10, 2019.) In August 2019, available for advanced CSCC in the U.S It was the first
analysts at HSBC wrote in a note, ‘Despite the immuno-oncology drug of Sanofi’s to hit the market.
disappointment, more deals would be the fastest way
to build up Sanofi’s stable of medicines and profile On December 10, just after a day of announcing
in cancer.’ Maybe that’s why betting on Synthorx is the Synthorx acquisition, Paul Hudson, the firm’s new
important to Sanofi. CEO, who joined in September 2019, outlined the
new strategies for the firm. Sanofi will be structured
Synthorx was founded in 2014 and in just 4 years with three core global business units to support the
went public in December 2018. The firm raised company’s strategy7 – Specialty Care (immunology,
approximately $131 million in its initial public rare diseases, rare blood disorders, neurology and
offering. Synthorx’s lead immuno-oncology product oncology), Vaccines, and General Medicines (diabetes,
candidate, THOR-707, a variant of interleukin-2 (IL- cardiovascular, and established products). Consumer
2), is in clinical development in multiple solid tumor Healthcare will be a standalone business unit with
types as a single agent and in combination with integrated R&D and manufacturing functions. The
immune checkpoint inhibitors. It has the potential firm has been offloading the divisions that weren’t
to become the best-in-class IL-2 therapeutic for the aligning with the firm’s new vision. On December 2,
treatment of solid tumors and demonstrate improved 2019, Sanofi announced plans to sell its Seprafilm
pharmacology, less frequent dosing, and therapeutic unit, which makes specialist surgical products, for
superiority when compared to other IL-2 compounds. $350 million in cash to Baxter International. Before
this, In April 2018, the firm sold its generics division,
The addition of THOR-707 and Synthorx’s Zentiva, to Advent International (a private equity
other earlier-stage cytokine programs to Sanofi’s firm) for about $2.4 billion.
pipeline will enhance its position in oncology, and in
immuno-oncology. The firm expect IL-2 to become Considering the new vision of Sanofi’s businesses,
a foundation of future IO-IO combinations as well the pipeline Synthorx brings to the table, and global
as offering multiple combination opportunities with projections for growth in the cancer immunotherapy
Sanofi’s clinical and pre-clinical oncology assets, market, the acquisition would pay off in the long run.
including with PD-1, CD-38, and molecules that
modulate effector T-cells and natural killer cells. The Larger Trend

Synthorx’s Expanded Genetic Alphabet Collaborations and partnerships in the field of
platform is expected to be a source for developing oncology are also growing, with pharma firms like
a differentiated therapeutic pipeline. Alone and in Roche Holding AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and
combination with other existing Sanofi platforms, Merck investing big in the field. According to Genetic
including the Nanobody technology, it will enable the Engineering and Biotechnology News, this year’s
company to develop a wide range of novel biologics, biggest partnerships were worth nearly $40 billion,
including drug conjugates, protein fusions, and up 16 per cent from the collaborations last year.
multi-specific biologics, with applications beyond
oncology and extending to other therapeutic areas. In December 2019, Merck also announced its
plan to buy Merck ArQule for $2.7 billion, at a
Jefferies analyst Biren Amin who covers Synthorx 107 per cent premium. ArQule is a publicly traded
said in note, “The deal makes it clear that Sanofi biopharmaceutical company focused on kinase
believes that IL-2 will “be a backbone of IO therapy inhibitor discovery and development for the
as well as will be used in combination with other IO treatment of patients with cancer and other diseases.
therapies. He does not expect any additional bidders Roche is partnering with US based Arcus Biosciences
for Synthorx. Sanofi expects the deal to close in the for colorectal and pancreatic cancer.
first quarter of 2020.
Partnerships and big premiums are becoming the
This is not the firm’s only immune-oncology norm as companies scout for potentially lucrative
drug In 2018, Sanofi and its development partner treatments from startups and companies alike, as to
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals received approval by how much it will pay off in the future, will have to
the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) wait and see.
for Libtayo (cemiplimab-rwlc) for the treatment of
patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell Ayesha Siddiqui
carcinoma (CSCC) or locally advanced CSCC who [email protected]



Future Medicines:
Digital Pills

On December 9, 2019, the US health provider in a secure web-based portal. etectRx’s
advanced communication technology will allow
regulator approved a novel Ingestible for incorporation of the receiver into a variety
of wearable and off-body devices in the future.
Event Marker by a US based startup, The ID-Cap System is classified by the FDA as
an ingestible event marker and Class II medical
etectRx bringing the spot lights on the device. It will be available by prescription.

digital pills and the future of medicines. The company hasn’t indicated which types
of medications it will work, but researchers at
Medication adherence, or taking Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Fenway
medications correctly, is defined as Health are evaluating the ID-Cap System in
the extent to which patients take ongoing and planned clinical studies focusing on
medication as prescribed by their doctors. The HIV medication when used for treatment and
full benefit of medications will be achieved only prevention.
if patients adhere to the prescribed treatment
regimens. Poor adherence can interfere with the Digital Pills
ability to treat many diseases, leading to greater
complications from the illness and a lower quality This is however not the first digital pill to be
of life for patients. approved. In 2017, another US based startup
Proteus Digital Health along with Japanese firm
Research estimates that poor medication Otsuka Pharmaceutical received the USFDA
adherence costs the healthcare industry more than approval for their digital medicine system,
$100 billion. There’s obviously a great market ABILIFY MYCITE (aripiprazole tablets with
opportunity and a Florida based startup etectRx sensor), a drug-device combination product
aims to bridge this gap and has been given green comprised of Otsuka’s oral aripiprazole tablets
light by the US regulator.

etectRx, a privately-held digital health
company, has received the US Food and Drug
Administration (USFDA) clearance for its
breakthrough patented ingestible event marker,
the ID-Cap System. The ID-Cap System is the
first and only ingestible event marker to transmit
digital messages from within the body to an
external receiver without the need for direct skin
contact for the purpose of recording ingestion

Comprised of the ID-Capsule, ID-Tag, ID-
Cap Reader, and related software, the ID-Cap
System provides real-time, dose-level ingestion
event verification. The ID-Capsule is a standard
pharmaceutical capsule containing the ID-Tag,
an ingestible sensor that emits a very low-power
digital message from within the patient after it is
ingested and activated by the patient’s stomach
fluid. The ID-Cap Reader (worn on a lanyard)
verifies the message as a valid ingestion event
and forwards the data to a secure smartphone-
based mobile application and to the healthcare



embedded with an Ingestible Event Marker (IEM) Companies in digital medicine
● Click Therapeutics, Japan
The difference between the two is that Proteus’ ● Akili Interactive, USA
reader is worn as a patch on the skin. ● Welldoc, USA
● Chongqing Jinshan Science and Technology
Since inception, Proteus Digital Health has
raised a total of $487 million in funding over 11 Group, China
rounds and was valued at $1.5 billion. Despite the ● Pear Therapeutics, USA
approval and a promising product, Proteus’ digital ● IntroMedic, Korea
pill did not garner much attention. ● etectRx, USA
● Proteus Digital Health, USA
According to a report in CNBC, an expected
$100 million funding round fell through, and as a Science & Technology has developed OMOM
result the company furloughed “the majority” of Smart Capsule, the first to enable bi-directional
its employees in November. Otsuka has already communication. The OMOM capsule endoscope
invested $88 million and the firm was unwilling to system comprises four units - an intelligent
put in more cash. capsule, an image recorder, a video workstation
and a handheld wireless monitor. The patient
Proteus is not the only digital health company simply needs to ingest the intelligent capsule,
that is struggling. Novartis’ generics division which will move within the patient’s digestive
Sandoz has also ended its partnership with digital tract via gastrointestinal muscle motility. It then
therapeutics firm Pear Therapeutics, owing to its record a video of the digestive tract wall so that the
transformation and subsequent leadership change, doctor can detect images and control the image
which has resulted in a reinforced focus on and parameters of the capsule in real time. Ultimately,
capital allocation for its core business. the intelligent capsule evacuate the body naturally.
The firm is said to hold a majority share of the
Sandoz now said that Pear will assume sole capsule endoscopy market in China having been
responsibility to commercialize Pear’s prescription the second to market with their capsule endoscopy
digital therapeutics (PDTs), reSET and reSET-O, platform.
new therapies for the treatment of substance
use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder Japanese firm Astellas has paid $15 million
(OUD). reSET is a 12-week (90-day) prescription to Welldoc to jointly develop and commercialize
digital therapeutic to be used in conjunction BlueStar in Japan and certain other Asian
with outpatient clinician-delivered care. reSET markets. BlueStar is a digital health solution that
offers interactive treatment modules that deliver was cleared by the USFDA for use by healthcare
cognitive behavioral therapy and fluency training providers and their patients aged 18 years and
to reinforce proficiency. It was cleared by the FDA older who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. BlueStar
in November 2018. not only assists patients in managing their
disease by capturing, storing, and transmitting
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean blood glucose data and tracking medication, diet,
there’s no market opportunity for the digital pill. activity and exercise, but also uses individual
According to a report by Data Bridge, Global patient treatment data and machine learning to
digital pills market is estimated to reach $302.70 provide tailored motivational, behavioral, and
million by 2026 registering a substantial CAGR educational coaching messages to aid in diabetes
of 7.90 per cent in the forecast period of 2019- self-management.
2026. This rise in the market can be attributed to
the rising prevalence of chronic diseases and the As with most digital things, privacy is of
advancements in tracking tools. paramount importance when it comes to digital
pills and the firms developing these must take
Scenario in Asia that into the consideration. But, no doubt, digital
medicine is a promising field and will play an
Asian firms aren’t far behind either. Korean important role in the evolution of global
company IntroMedic has developed their own pharma.
capsule endoscopy platform MiroCam. It was
invented to detect abnormalities in the small Ayesha Siddiqui
bowel by visualizing the small bowel mucosa. The [email protected]
capsule takes image of the small bowel using the
wireless camera inside of the capsule. The firm has
received USFDA nod for the capsule.

Another Chinese firm, Chongqing Jinshan




In 2019, we saw Asia developing itself into a major hub for medtech and biopharma activities for both
local as well multinational companies. Biotech companies in the region entered into partnerships
with leading global biopharmaceutical companies on both the R&D and commercial fronts. Now, as
we enter into 2020, the industry plans to further rise in the medtech, biopharma and startups space
within Asia focusing on applied research, new technologies, affordability and manageability.

Asia is well known for the dynamic nature of during 2020, and Asian pharmaceutical companies
its markets and its rapid growth. With its 48 will establish R&D functions further.
countries evolving their political, economic,
and healthcare systems, Asia presents a steady flow “An ageing population, a rise in non-
of surprises as well as challenges. In 2019, we saw communicable diseases, a burgeoning middle-class
Asia developing itself into a major hub for medtech and increasing demand for quality healthcare are
and biopharma activities for both local as well drivers for growth in Asia Pacific. That said, we face
multinational companies. Biotech companies in the stagnant drug budgets in many markets and need
region entered into partnership with leading global to better articulate the value of pharmaceutical
biopharmaceutical companies on both the R&D innovation. Companies must also look to the
and commercial fronts. Asset-level partnership too future and maintain a pipeline
remained very active during 2019. of innovative medicines that
will truly contribute to better
Now, as we enter into 2020, the industry plans to patients’ outcomes and
further rise in the medtech, biopharma and startups can be commercialized at
space within Asia. According to the Deloitte report speed”, points out Ong Ai
on Healthcare and Life Sciences Predictions 2020, Hua, Company Group
the overall focus in 2020 will continue to be on Chairman (CGC), Janssen
applied research and adaptation of new technologies, Asia Pacific.
with emphasis on affordability and manageability.
Deloitte also predicts that traditional medicines will As the pharmaceutical industry is under
be included in the research and innovation process tremendous pressure to reduce the R&D costs,
address the unmet needs, conduct the transition from



producing medicines to managing outcomes, and The way forward
serving the emerging markets as well as the growing
patient population more effectively, the adoption of With value-based competition the new reality,
digital technologies and business models can assist companies must change the way they evaluate
the industry in addressing these challenges and treatments and adopt them into practice.
managing their top-line growth while improving Life Sciences and Health Care companies in
bottom-line efficiency in 2020. Asia Pacific could benefit from addressing
the evolving needs of their stakeholders by
Key Growth Drivers understanding the different care delivery models
across the region; identifying the appropriate
Asia-Pacific, driven by the rising adoption of metrics to measure outcomes; capturing real-
emerging technologies in countries like Japan, China, world evidence; and extracting meaningful
Singapore, South Korea and India, is creating a key insights with the right data tools.
growth region and is set to account for one-fourth of
the global market and overtake Europe as the second- When it comes to emerging technologies,
largest market by 2022. real-world engagement is the best way to
understand the nature of the opportunities and
According to a research study by BioPlan challenges that they present. Pilots, for instance,
Associates, China’s pharma segment is projected can be used to support collaborations and
to reach $175 billion by 2022. With innovation in knowledge-sharing across the organisations and
mainstream Chinese biotech and biopharma entering between different partners. For Life Sciences
a new phase, more innovative medicines are poised to and Health Care companies, forming strategic
reach Chinese patients leading to promising progress alliances with technology companies could
in tackling many of the most prevalent illnesses. In be one way to tap into their expertise in the
addition, the injection of seasoned pharmaceutical consumer experience.
leaders into new biotech companies in China could
help elevate the capabilities of China’s biotech But collaborations should not stop there.
companies as some march onto the global stage by With patient groups growing in influence,
2025. personalised medicine is driving clinical
innovation and research. Early engagement
Simultaneously, South Korea is working hard with regulators, too, can help to accelerate the
to become a global biotech hub by expanding the development of innovative treatments. All these
country’s presence in the global biotech market require that companies adopt an ecosystem view
from its current 1.7 per cent to 5 per cent by 2025 of their stakeholders – from academia, to non-
and by adding 120,000 new biotech jobs by 2025. profits, governments, and the patient.
To meet this ambitious target, the government
invested $320 million in the biotech sector in 2018, Source: Deloitte
of which approximately $60 million is targeted
for pharmaceutical R&D, to back development of devices and automation throughout the industry
100 novel drugs by 2026. In addition, the Korea value chain demands timely actions. The winners
Pharmaceutical and Biopharma Manufacturers will be the ones who quickly adapt the emerging
Association (KPBMA) has launched a joint task force technologies and tools and integrate them within the
to purchase an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to workflow.”
streamline the drug discovery process and improve
its efficiency. As of now, 18 local drug makers have In terms of technology, McKinsey report focusing
collaborated on this innovation. on medtech in Asia predicts that the Asia–Pacific
medtech market is expected to rise to about $133
On this note, Reenita billion in 2020. At present, the leading medtech
Das, Partner & Senior companies are focusing on smartphone-based
Vice President, Frost & solutions, as they present a $2.11 billion opportunity
Sullivan shares, “Digital by 2020; in the form of Software-as-a-Medical-
technologies such as Artificial Device; building risk-sharing contracts that are
Intelligence (AI), Big Data, enabled only by data-sharing models; and fostering
Cloud Computing, Industrial partnerships with smart home ecosystem participants
Internet of Things (IIoT), Robotics, to aid early diagnosis and disease management
Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Wearables, etc. will for ensuring better outcomes. Offering a hotbed of
serve as the enablers of the digital transition of the opportunities within the medtech space in 2020 is
pharmaceutical industry. The increasing role of data,



China. Total sales volume of medical device products 145 deals last year. In particular, healthcare and
in China is expected to reach $100 billion by 2020. biomedical science startups received S$148.3 million
As there are around 1 million healthcare institutions in funding, while digital health startups secured
around China including hospitals, community health S$126.9 million in 2019.
centers, and township health centers, distribution
networks play key roles for multinational companies “The need for better cost-effective solutions for
to have successful business in China. consumers is a driving force behind the growth of
health tech startups in APAC. Singapore is seeing
Singapore is another country exploring aspects more investments coming from corporate health
of technology extensively, but in the startups space. tech partnerships. Under the Research, Innovation
According to Enterprise Singapore (ESG), venture and Enterprise (RIE) 2015 Plan, the Singapore
investors have poured in approximately S$13.4 government committed $16 billion over 2011 to
billion into local startups in the first three quarters 2015 to establish Singapore as a global research and
of 2019, a 36 per cent jump from the previous year. development (R&D) hub. The government further
Digital tech startups have clinched 93.2 per cent of sustained its commitment by investing $19 billion for
the total capital deployed across 278 deals, up from the RIE2020 Plan over 2016 to 2020. The healthcare

New partnerships and operating models

As health care costs increase, affordability launched a scheme where medical corporations
remains a problematic issue for the Asia Pacific can create non-profit holding companies without
region. Yet, efforts by sector stakeholders to corporate acquisitions68. Under this scheme,
manage costs are further complicated by price a single holding company can manage several
controls and funding models. For example, medical institutions, such as nursing care
hospitals in India are increasingly seeing the facilities – an arrangement that may be especially
need to build more financially sound operating beneficial for medical institutions serving rural
models to deal with their diminishing margins areas that face the challenge of increasing their
brought about by price controls on drugs, operational efficiency in spite of the lack of scale
consumables, and medical devices, and insurance due to declining patient populations.
companies’ use of their growing patient share
and buying power to squeeze hospital pricing. Across the Asia Pacific region, different
India’s medical workforce shortage also means players have begun lateral expansion across the
available doctors command a high price Life Sciences and Health Care sectors through
structure, further eating into hospital margins. In the use of mergers and acquisitions, as well as
China, the policy of zero mark-ups for drugs sold joint ventures. From Indonesia to India, local
at hospital is also a major contributor of eroding manufacturers face strong imperatives to explore
profits. higher drug manufacturing and venture beyond
their local markets. To bolster their positions
To deal with the challenges of shrinking globally, local manufacturers are also recognising
margins and rising costs, a number of different the need to partner multinationals and
new partnerships and operating models have pharmaceutical giants to leverage their marketing
emerged for stakeholders to work collaboratively capabilities.
on innovative access, delivery, and financing
models. One example is the formation of Other collaborative arrangements include
closed loop supply chains: the acquisition of the use of joint ventures and public-private
hospitals by large medical groups in China is partnerships (PPPs), both within the Life
a case in point. CR Healthcare, for instance, Sciences and Health Care industry, as well as
currently manages 109 hospitals with more across industries and sectors. Increasingly,
than 11,000 beds, while its sister company CR governments, providers, and life sciences
Pharmaceuticals supplies the hospitals’ drugs. companies are working together to develop
Chinese insurance companies are also employing wellness programmes, particularly in the public
similar business models to promote commercial health arena, as well as personalised therapies,
medical insurance. such as for cancer.

Earlier in April 2017, Japan’s government also Source: Deloitte



The new currency of data

Health data is the new health care currency, Of course, no single organisation has all the
as organisations increasingly use advanced digital data required to look at a patient or targeted
and cognitive technologies to mine vast amounts of population in a holistic manner. This can limit the
data to produce clinical and operational insights. abilities of the health system that is providing the
Facing a continuous, evergrowing influx of data care and the payer that is financing the care and, in
from internal and external sources, hospitals turn, directly impact the patient journey. However,
will come to depend on cognitive analytics to three developments - IoT, Cognitive computing
sort through and find the most important data and Cloud-based interoperable EHRs - are helping
points and trends, analyse the data, and present organisations in the Asia Pacific region mine
actionable insights to clinicians, patients, and insights across various data sources.
caregivers in an easy-to-understand format that
seamlessly fits into their daily activities. Source: Deloitte

technology industry in Singapore is moving at looking beyond the application of technology will do
lightning speed towards the process of getting the much needed trick for a successful 2020.
their health tech commercialised,
launched in other markets, and Coming up ahead are the key agendas of the
to relax their regulations”, leading players in the APAC region within the
mentions Julien Salaberry, biopharma, medtech, startups, biosuppliers,
CEO, Galen Growth Asia. bioservices and diagnostics space for the years 2020-
Leveraging upon
the growing number of Dr Manbeena Chawla
biotech startups in India, the (With inputs from Ayesha Siddiqui, Kalyani
government had put out an action
plan in 2016 through the Start Up India Action Sharma, Jyoti Pandey and Hithaishi CB)
Plan with the top priority of achieving $100 billion by
2025. Since then India has been creating incubation The shift from volume to value
facilities, mentor groups and bringing investors
on the front who can recognise and appreciate the With escalating health care costs,
biotech innovations. A perfect example of this effort governments, health care providers, and
came around in the form Global Bio-India event in other stakeholders across Asia Pacific are
November 2019, one of the largest biotechnology recognising the benefits of keeping individuals
stakeholders conglomerate held in India for the and populations healthy. As a result, the needle
first time. “The Biotechnology Summit discussed is increasingly moving from treatment to
the roadmap to achieve $100 billion bio-economy prevention, and from volume-based payment
target by 2025. We have scaled $51 billion already models to value-based ones.
and the sector is growing at 14.7
per cent rate. So the $100 billion With an ageing population and the rise of
target seems very modest”, chronic diseases within the Asia Pacific region,
says Dr Renu Swarup, the need for such interventions has only grown
Secretary, Department more acute in recent years. A number of markets
of Biotechnology, have begun this transition from volume to
Government of India. value in earnest, through reform policies and
programmes promoting operational efficiency,
Undoubtedly, Asia has technology use, and population health. In other
numerous opportunities to take words, a successful transition to value-based care
the lead in developing and adopting requires stakeholders, including consumers, to
technology platforms thereby contributing to the move from health care to health; from treatment
global healthcare ecosystem in 2020. But adoption to prevention; and from individual to population
of new generation technologies will not be able to health.
address the challenges alone. Timely action and
Source: Deloitte

2020 Editorial Calender

January February Biospectrum

Trends 2020 Govt. funding support for R&D Awards
Benefits of Indo-US election How Big Pharma made presence in APAC 2020
Modern Pharma: How pharma firms have Personalised medicine was it just a fad?
automated their processes

Women in top positions Incubators/Parks in Asia
Latest Trends in Digital Health Insomania Market
The Role of AI from Licensing to Regulatory VC funding in biosciences startup: A look at
Compliance in biosciences how has this changed from the past few years

May June

Top Chinese API manufacterers Healthcare scenario in Asia
Why does Indian Plants gets FDA brickbats The Rising Mental Health problems &
The new regulations in Medical Devices and opportunities for pharma companies
its impact Complexities in Manufacturing of gene therapy

July August

Rare diseases Sales in pharma/biosciences
Recycling Biotech/Pharma Waste Insurance and Healthcare
Brexit implications on bioscience field Digital therpaeutics & the rise of data
driven therapy

September October

Companies playing a role in assisted tech New Drugs which has been launched
CRO Market Investement made by big pharma firms
Data Management in Clinical Trials Innovations in Cancer cure

November December

FDA approved failities in each country Fake drugs
Chatbots/AI in pharma Vision 2020- look back
The battle of Drug pricing An update on the Vaccines


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Our immediate priority is to continue In 2020, we foresee the industry
to drive our pipeline of innovative pushing the boundaries of
products that help restore sight for science to respond to the
our patients across their lifetimes. In changing and increasing needs
2019 alone, our Vision Care business of patients. Development of new
launched the ACUVUE OASYS with treatments will continue to be
Transitions, which not only corrects vision but reduces the data-driven and more industry partnerships will be
stressful impact that light can have on our eyes. This was forged to accelerate the biomanufacturing process.
named one of TIME’s Best Inventions in 2018. Our Surgical Amgen is committed to contributing to a ‘Predict
Vision business also launched the TECNIS Synergy IOL, and Prevent’ approach to address society’s most
which delivers continuous high-contrast vision for patients serious and costly illnesses. Amgen will continue to
with cataracts from far through near, even in low-light work closely with different stakeholders especially
conditions. We also launched the TECNIS Eyhance IOL, in the areas of manpower and investments in
which allows cataract patients to experience high-quality manufacturing technology, to propel Singapore’s
vision at both intermediate and far distances, the first for biotechnology industry as a world-class
the monofocal IOL category. 2020 and beyond promise to biomanufacturing hub to meet the changing needs
be even more exciting, as we roll out more technologically of Singapore and the world.
advanced solutions that keep pace with our patients’ - Emily Razaqi, Vice President, Site Operations,
evolving needs. Amgen Singapore Manufacturing, Singapore
- Christoph Vonwiller, Regional VP, Surgical Vision,
Asia Pacific & Japan, Singapore MANUFACTURING
We see year 2020 as a bright year.
PROVIDE ACCESS TO We have inaugurated recently SEZ’s
AFFORDABLE MEDICINES new additional facilities built as
With a growing population, changing per European Union (EU)/ US FDA
lifestyles and increasing disease norms. We will add further capacities
burden, India is a critical market for to our existing vaccines. We also have a rich pipeline of
Mylan. It is integral to Mylan’s vision new products like Pneumo of which developing country’s
of providing access to affordable children are deprived because of very high price by
medicines for 7 billion people worldwide and is the MNC’s all these years. We have a rich pipeline of products
backbone of our operations and supply chain network. for EU/ US markers. We are also implementing AI in
Mylan will continue its efforts through its ongoing manufacturing and distribution. Our 5 year strategies are
initiatives to cater to the unmet needs and enhance to make our offerings of vaccines for developing countries
access to high-quality affordable medicines in the areas rich. We will also plan to enter developed country market
of infectious diseases, oncology, critical care and women’s for which we are getting geared.
health concern in India. - Dr SD Ravetkar, Executive Director,

- Rakesh Bamzai, President and Serum Institute of India, India
Emerging Markets, Mylan, India



ABOUT GREATER PATIENT 2020 will be a year of optimism
AWARENESS as we work hard to bring more
Together with the Singapore breakthroughs that change patients’
National Eye Centre and the lives. Our pipeline of novel medicines
Singapore Eye Research Institute, for the Singapore market will cover a
we are pushing through projects with our first-of- wide range of therapeutic areas targeting anti-infectives,
its-kind public-private strategic partnership in Asia rare diseases, lung cancer, leukemia and other cancers. We
that seeks to create a deeper understanding of how do, however, foresee some challenges in patient access
myopia develops, how it progresses and how it may be to innovative medicines. To overcome them, there will be
intercepted. With eye health on the ministerial agenda opportunities to explore different health outcome-based
in countries such as China, we can reimagine vision access models that are sustainable for Singapore. We
care by marrying industry expertise and government continue to invest in new R&D capabilities that enable
knowledge and reach, to magnify and expand the us to discover and deliver first-in-class medicines and
impact quickly and effectively. We want to reach out vaccines that provide value to patients. Our large-scale
to patients and caregivers through digital and virtual active pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturing plant
reality capabilities to enable them to better understand in Tuas produces a range of drug substances for products
the condition and seek out treatment options. We will across various therapeutic areas including anti-infectives,
continue to work with private and public hospitals across metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, pain, oncology,
the region to bring about greater patient awareness. We inflammation and rare diseases. To offer Singaporeans
will sharpen our value proposition for patient centricity greater access to this portfolio of medicines, one of our
through deepening our data and analytics capabilities priorities is to form more public-private partnerships with
and leveraging professionally connected commerce to the government. Beyond treatments and cures, another
enhance the consumer journey. priority area is to promote preventive healthcare through
- Vaibhav Saran, Area VP, Vision Care, Asia Pacific, at vaccination and antibiotics stewardship.
Johnson & Johnson Vision, Singapore - Enver Erkan, Managing Director and Country

COLLABORATE WITH Manager, Pfizer, Singapore
At Sanofi Pasteur, our portfolio INTENSIFY EFFORTS TO EXPORT
is led by our innovative pediatric TO JAPAN, CHINA
and influenza vaccines that offers Pharmaceutical Export Promotion
protection against a wide range of Council of India (Pharmexcil) besides
infectious diseases ranging from whatever it does in terms of promoting
Haemophilus influenza type b, polio, pertussis, tetanus, exports through very innovative means
Hepatitis A & B to meningococcal meningitis, to name has started spreading its reach to
a few. As a Research & Development (R&D) based countries which were not being visited earlier like CIS, Russia
vaccine manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur is committed and Latin America besides Africa which has always been
to continuously collaborate with our immunization the focus country. We have started intensifying our efforts
partners. Together, we have a responsibility to maintain to make sure our exports go to these two blocks particularly
dialogue and forge solutions that will support shared Japan and China which are two very large markets. We
goals for immunization, in concert with a policy climate have three prompt strategies of making sure that we go
supportive of continuous investment in R&D and in to China & Japan in sizeable manner. We already have a
manufacturing for a sustainable supply of high-quality Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Chamber
vaccines within a balanced ecosystem. A close working of Commerce for Pharmaceuticals & Drug Products that
collaboration with health authorities to sustain the is yielding very good dividends. Results will come in 2020
vaccine ecosystem from manufacturing, sustainable probably because there is a time which is involved in the
supply, delivery, vaccine program implementation – approval process. I am very hopeful that by 2020, Latin
all these are crucial in ensuring vaccine access to the American & Russia strategy will pay-off. Another thing is our
community who needs it most. Annual event iPHEX which is happening in May 2020. These
- Francois Sandre, Head of Asia & JPAC, are the two most significant activities from Pharmexcil
happening in 2020.
Sanofi Pasteur, Singapore - Dr Dinesh Dua, Chairman, Pharmexcil, India




Continuing the development IN CHINA, INDIA
of AWAK’s Peritoneal Dialysis In FY 2019, we have successfully
(AWAK PD) device will remain completed the first phase of our
our focus in 2020. We have Siemens Healthineers strategy
recently completed our first-in- 2025. With the beginning of
human study and presented the FY2020, we entered the second,
positive results in American Society of Nephrology. so-called Upgrading Phase. With our first sizeable
Study outcome demonstrated that AWAK PD was acquisitions in 2019, Corindus Vascular Robotics and
effective at removing wastes from the body, and ECG Management Consultants, we underpinned
there were no serious adverse events reported our strategy steps towards expanding our market
during or up to one month after the therapy. From leadership until 2025. Siemens Healthineers has
the study we also identified some opportunities defined clear priorities during the Upgrading phase
to optimize the device, and work with clinicians for its three segments. In the Imaging segment, the
to add a couple of innovative features, including focus is on continuously innovating the core business,
adding a Mobile App to help manage the therapy. expanding its diagnostic offerings as well as on taking
In addition to enhancing the current design, we a leading role in supporting clinical decision-making
are working with key opinion leaders globally in based on artificial intelligence. In the Diagnostics
nephrology space, to come up with a protocol for segment, the main task is to exploit the opportunities
the next clinical study with a larger population, arising from the market trend towards automated
which is likely to commence in the next 12 to 18 workflows in laboratory diagnostics. On top of this, it is
months. During the next five years, in addition planned to further expand the point-of-care business.
to focusing on launching our product in Asia, we One focus of the Advanced Therapies segment is on
will spend much time working with the FDA and combining the technologies of the robotics company
commercializing this product in the USA. We Corindus Vascular Robotics, with the existing portfolio
also have a close eye on India and China – both to achieve additional growth and make new markets.
countries have an increasing number of dialysis The plans of the segments are being supplemented
patients, and more than half of them are still not by three company-wide priorities: market share gains
accessing the much-needed therapy for various in geographic growth markets as well as with leading
reasons. healthcare providers, and the further acceleration of
- Suresha Venkataraya, CEO, AWAK the company’s digital transformation. More than 50
per cent of the global market growth is in Asia. China
Technologies, Singapore and India are especially driven by these megatrends,
which offer growth opportunities for med-tech
CONTINUE TO FORGE providers. To achieve our growth targets, it is necessary
PARTNERSHIPS to capture opportunities in those markets. As such,
Our vision for 2020-2025 is to help we have defined ambitious growth strategies with
people with diabetes everywhere the clear aspiration to lead or gain leadership in these
seamlessly integrate their daily important markets. For example, one element is to
diabetes routines in their everyday develop dedicated solutions and offerings which
lives. To achieve this, we are reflect the unique needs of the Chinese market.
committed to driving access to our integrated solutions Another focus is to build up local competence centers
and platforms in countries with high unmet patient in digitalization and for entry level products in India.
needs, so each person is equipped with accurate data- Other markets in AP, especially the ASEAN countries,
driven insights to master the complexity of managing will contribute as well. Healthcare delivery requires the
diabetes. We are continuing to forge partnerships with collaboration of many stakeholders, be it governments
local governments and NGOs to make our integrated or business associations. Together, we can contribute
solutions across glucose monitoring and insulin delivery to enabling healthcare providers to deliver high-value
readily available. care.
- Pedro Goncalves, Head, Roche Diabetes Care, - Elisabeth Staudinger, President, Asia Pacific,

Region International, Singapore Siemens Healthineers, China



There are stringent regulatory It is interesting to note that with
protocols that take a lot of time the Government becoming aware
to be addressed before launching of great need for prevention of
any new product in Korea. Roche is disease and hence focusing on
maintaining a modular approach taking primary healthcare to the
and will be releasing a number of grassroot level, the tier II – IV cities
products in the Korean market. The upcoming ones and towns are also setting up basic diagnostic facilities.
are the MySugr app and RocheDiabetes Care platform Transasia with its wide range of analyzers and a wide
that will be available in Korea by 2020. Roche Diabetes service network will continue to play an important role
Care is also open to partnering with the government in equipping these centres, right from on-boarding to
for further initiatives. Although, there is nothing in the training. The year 2020 will also open the gates for exports
pipeline yet. for Transasia due to our expanded sales and service
network in over 100 countries. We are planning aggressive
- Tommy Kim, General Manager, strategies to push our growth agenda. We have identified
Roche Diabetes Care, Korea three pillars of growth – first would be to strengthen and
grow our existing customer relationships; second is to
FOCUS ON SCREENING BASED scale up our production base and third is to strengthen
SOLUTION APPROACH our product portfolio with new product launches. We
In 2020, we at Fujifilm aim to provide will continue to focus on becoming a total solutions
advanced imaging solutions in the provider for our customers. Our belief is that this will drive
medical sector to the common integration and create long-term sustainable growth
people of India by associating with for us in this space. We have a host of products in the
the government’s Ayushman Bharat pipeline and will soon roll-out new products in molecular
initiate. As we continue to chart our business roadmap in testing. Our plan is to expand our avenues for testing of
India for 2020-25, we will be focusing on a screening-based infectious diseases, a growing concern for India and the
solution approach, to make concerted efforts towards emerging countries. In the coming few years, we aim to
curbing ever growing and life threatening diseases like become a total solutions provider, only the fourth globally.
Breast Cancer, Tuberculosis, and Lung & Colon Cancer In this context, Transasia is looking at foraying into new
at an early stage. We intent to manufacture and deliver overseas markets such as Brazil and Russia through
Computed Radiology and Digital Radiology at a lower cost Greenfield manufacturing units to roll out affordable
in line with government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to offer solutions to those markets. We are also doubling our R&D
affordable health services to a large part of its population. spend to achieve this objective.
In the coming years, these advanced technology products - Suresh Vazirani, CMD, Transasia-Erba Group, India
will help in digitization of X-rays, resulting in paperless
transactions in hospitals.

- Haruto Iwata, MD, Fujifilm India

In line with our vision we will
continue to invest heavily in
new generation techniques
like Genomics, Proteomics,
Metabolomics, Molecular
Diagnostics and Digital Pathology to aid the evolving
new field of personalised medicine and precision
diagnostics. Neuberg Diagnostics wants to be a $200 to
250 million revenues group by 2025 by having significant
presence in South Asia, Middle East and African
region and technology incubators for new generation
techniques in USA and Europe.
- Dr GSK Velu, CMD, Neuberg Diagnostics, India



INVEST IN IT INFRASTRUCTURE Our vision for 2020 is to
Aster has put in place pan-India empower people with
systems and policies with a large focus current, credible, evidence-
on clinical and services excellence, this based knowledge and
will fetch us large scale dividends in support healthcare systems
the adoption of best practice. We plan in their digital health transformation to
to consolidate our existing operations improve patient outcomes and guide
and increase the utilization of assets; Start benchmarking clinicians to make the best decisions for
metrices of clinical and service excellence within the Aster their patients. In accelerating our medical
system and within peer groups within India and overseas; education offerings, we have acquired
Focus on people as key assets, in terms of investing in their 3D4Medical, creator of world-leading 3D
development and long-term career plans; Have continuous anatomy technology, to bring this platform
and sustainable investments in IT infrastructure both, within to more learners, educators and healthcare
the hospital and outside the hospital ecosystem; and Expand professionals.
into other verticals like diagnostics, etc. Across countries in Asia, Elsevier also has
- Dr Harish Pillai, CEO-India, Aster DM Healthcare, India plans to further contribute to democratizing
evidence-based knowledge to physicians. In
DEVELOP SMES AROUND China, Elsevier has partnered with Tencent
LUCRATIVE SECTORS to exchange cutting-edge global health
Our prominent focus is to leverage and medical information to increase the
our existing core strengths, while body of clinical knowledge and global
continuing to push the boundaries health perspectives available to Chinese
of research into new and emerging health professionals. Through collaborations
areas of focus. We intend to build and partnerships like this, Elsevier aims to
our capability and develop SMEs around lucrative sectors facilitate the flow of medical knowledge
such as robotic-assisted surgery, point-of-care molecular to physicians and enhance their clinical
diagnostics, and next-generation biologic platforms, decision-making and care efficiency.
among others. - Tim Hawkins, MD, Clinical Solutions
- Rachit Kumar, Senior Analyst, Healthcare, EMEALAAP, Elsevier, United Kingdom

Persistence Market Research, India




Mesh Bio’s focus is very much in 2020 will be the year of tech-
line with public health initiatives. enabled integrated and personalised
The company will seek to partner healthcare. In addition, we are
with stakeholders from both private looking forward to early 2020 where
and public health institutions to we will close our Series B round of
build solutions for broader impact on population health. funding. Our Series B funds will accelerate the vision
Over the next 5 years, Mesh Bio aims to demonstrate the we have about an integrated and personalised ASEAN
potential of its deep tech analytics approaches, based on healthcare environment. With increased coordination
systems biology, to enable targeted care delivery when across the continuum coupled with a personalised
deployed in specific chronic disease patient populations. approach towards healthcare, Kent Ridge Health is
poised to enable high quality healthcare starting with
- Andrew Wu, PhD, Co-Founder & the 2,000 medical institutions and 251,955 users residing
CEO, Mesh Bio, Singapore in the EUDATM ecosystem. The next 5 years will be
game changing for Kent Ridge Health. In the next year,
LAUNCH PRODUCTS IN INDIA we are integrating all healthcare stakeholders across
Chowis will continue to create more the continuum into our technology stack EUDATM,
products that will help the users empowering them with the tools to deliver quality
address their specific skin and hair healthcare while bridging the information gap between
care needs. For instance, Chowis is consumers and medical providers.
already developing new products Fundamentally, we know healthcare and we will
that will hit the market in the continue to deliver the best quality care directly to
near future. We will always strive to create and develop consumers with technology. Beyond the next year, Kent
revolutionary products in the 21st century and hopefully Ridge Health will continue to work on our vision where
beyond. Considering that the population of Korea is every consumer across ASEAN will experience most
relatively small in comparison to its neighbors, Korea is integrated and personalised care possible via EUDATM.
really into cosmetics. Currently we have penetrated more We are not far from achieving this vision. 78 per cent of
than 20 countries and we are expanding into new markets. consumers are interested in having a menu of care options
We are also seeing a permanent presence in the Indian offered by multiple providers, while almost 80 per cent of
market in the next two years. We will launch our products consumers indicated that their recent in-person meeting
in Cosmoprof Mumbai India in 2020, making it our official with a medical provider could have occurred virtually.
entry into the Indian market. We are developing new EUDATM is at the frontier of enabling this exchange
products as we enter new markets, by the year 2025, we through our suite of applications tailored to each user. The
would like to triple the number of markets that we have next 5 years will be pivotal as we execute on our vision to
penetrated. integrate and personalise healthcare across the region.
- Ryan WS CHOI, CEO, Chowis, Korea - Kelvin Chen, CEO, Kent Ridge Health, Singapore

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) has tied up with many international partners in
2019 in areas as varied as agriculture to healthcare and Antimicrobial Resistance. We plan to leverage
upon these collaborations to promote and nurture a pipeline of exciting innovations from India for
global markets. We are looking to increase our incubation space. In 2020 we will also officially launch
our National Rapid Prototyping Facility (uFab) for medtech startups supported by National BioPharma
Mission. Given our growing portfolio of nutrition, regenerative therapy, rare diseases, clean technology
startups, we will initiate new dedicated entrepreneurship centres to enable startups in niche areas to expand beyond niche
markets. We are looking for more opportunities to connect with the global innovation ecosystem so that we can attempt
to address global issues ‘glocally’. We are also spreading our wings beyond Tier I cities. An example would be our BIRAC
Regional Entrepreneurship Centre, BREC program that has connected 1000 startups from 33 states and UTs in India.

- Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP, India




BD is continuing to invest in India PARTNERS
& Bangladesh to help drive better Today, the Microbiology media
access & outcomes for healthcare. of HiMedia is being exported
We are increasing product lines that to over 150 countries and our
will be manufactured in our Haryana footprints in the US and the EU
facility, increasing the number of engineers in R&D in Union, where we have our own operations, is also
Bengaluru & Chandigarh centres, continuing to work with growing rapidly. In the next 5 years, we foresee
the government in its fight against TB, HIV. In addition, we this to increase by many folds and are also looking
will be targeting to train ~100K healthcare professionals forward to setting up joint production facilities with
every year for next 5 years to help improve their ability to our overseas partners for Microbiology, Animal Cell
deliver quality patient outcome. Culture and Molecular Biology products. We are
- Pavan Mocherla, MD, BD India/South Asia, India working on development of chemically defined
serum free media for biotherapy, for biosimilar,
UP SKILL LOCAL LIFE SCIENCE production of different biomolecules such as insulin,
CAPABILITIES erythropoietin, GMCSF, GCSF and for monoclonal
At Merck, we have the widest Antibodies (mAbs) of different types. We will also
product portfolio, regulatory and be making serum free media for vaccines for both
technical capabilities in upstream human as well as animal. A lot of specialized media
and downstream manufacturing that would be available in the market from HiMedia for
can support customers throughout stem cell expansion and differentiation as well as
the phases of biologics research and production to process for primary cell culturing. HiMedia is also working
optimization. We are also been collaborating with local in a big way on organ regeneration and organ
authorities and companies by providing our expertise transplantation. So, transplantation media that are
and training to up skill the capabilities of the local life needed to preserve organs and transport them as
science community. We are excited about the upcoming well as media in which stem cells and IPSCs could
opportunities and we are ready to support our customers be cultured to develop them into steroids and
in 2020 and beyond. organoids which can later be taken up for organ re-
- Benoit Opsomer, VP & Head, Bio Process, Life Science generation studies.
Dr Vishal G. Warke, Director, Cell culture &
business, APAC, Merck, Singapore Immunology, HiMedia Laboratories, India


The new clinical trial rules DEVELOPMENT
which were published in 2019 With the positive changes in the
will further allow us to fully regulatory landscape for clinical trials
leverage the potential that India that will help drug development
has to offer in terms of medical in India, Indian Society for Clinical
expertise, healthcare infrastructure and patient Research (ISCR) has firmed up with the goals to further
pool. We therefore look forward to 2020 and believe clinical research in India: Continue confidence building
it will be a year of growth. We would like to focus on measures and advocacy efforts for all stake holders; Work
scalable growth by investing in talent development with stakeholders to further the cause of clinical research
and bringing our global technology-enabled in India; Publish white papers/publications; and Continue
solutions and advances in clinical research to India. clinical research awareness/training programmes to make
- Suneela Thatte, Head, RDS India, India leading place in global drug development.
- Dr Chirag Trivedi, President, ISCR, India
IQVIA, India



Certa Therapeutics -
developing treatment for
chronic kidney disease

Diabetes causes 3.7 million deaths worldwide annually, 2.2 million of which are from
diabetes-related cardiovascular and kidney disease. Realising the unmet need, Prof
Darren Kelly launched Certa Therapeutics in Melbourne in 2018 which is now looking to
partner with a pharmaceutical company to bring the therapy to market.

Fibrosis is one of the key factors in diabetes- a medicine. There was probably about AU$20-30
related heart disease, chronic kidney disease ($ 13-20 million) million in venture capital funding
and chronic lung disease. Diabetes affects available at that time in Australia, so it was difficult
more than 400 million adults around the world, to raise capital due to the immature sector. It took
and its prevalence is increasing. It is estimated about 18 months to raise a Series A of AU$7 million
to account for 12 per cent of global health ($5 million approx) for Fibrotech after receiving an
expenditure, or $612 billion each year. Diabetes- investment from Brandon Capital Partners, Medical
related fibrosis is the leading cause of end-stage Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and
kidney disease. There are currently no products to Uniseed. This funding supported animal studies
prevent or reverse fibrosis, including the fibrosis and Phase I clinical trials for FT011, which were
triggered by diabetes-related high blood glucose. completed successfully in 2014.”
Diabetes-related fibrosis is treatable only with
dialysis or a kidney transplant. Preventing fibrosis Global biopharmaceutical company Shire
will reduce or remove the need for these expensive acquired the technology when it bought Fibrotech in
treatments. 2014. The acquisition agreement included an upfront
payment of $75 million and milestone payments
Realising the unmet need, Prof of $482.5 million. Shire developed the technology
Darren Kelly and his colleagues further, but subsequently decided to divest it,
at the University of Melbourne’s enabling it to be brought back to Australia. This led
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry to the launch in 2018 of Certa Therapeutics, whose
and Health Sciences, launched stakeholders include the founding stakeholders of
pharmaceutical start-up Fibrotech Fibrotech.
Therapeutics in 2006 after getting
a patent on their discovery of a lead compound, The new company has received $22 million
FT011, which delays kidney disease and heart failure from the Australian Government’s Biomedical
in people with diabetes. The team has also developed Translation Fund, managed by MRCF, and $3 million
DNA testing protocols to identify patients more likely from Uniseed, some of which it used to acquire
to suffer from fibrosis and thus to respond to FT011. the intellectual property originally transferred
In addition to the researchers, the University of in the Fibrotech sale, in addition to other related
Melbourne, Bio21 and St Vincent’s Hospital each took technology. As part of the deal, Shire takes an 18
a stake in the company. per cent stake in Certa Therapeutics and will receive
royalties on global sales when products reach market.
Talking about the challenges in raising capital
Prof Darren Kelly said “In 2006, biotech was a Prof Kelly is the CEO of Certa Therapeutics.
foreign word in Australia when I first became Having completed safety trials of FT011, the company
involved in research translation. I was an academic is now focusing on developing FT011 and DNA testing
researcher in Melbourne when I decided to test for fibrosis susceptibility for later stage clinical trials.
whether my research on fibrosis could be made into Since its discovery, the treatment has attracted
investments of more than $550 million from the

S TA R T U P 37


pharmaceutical industry and over $30 million in across the United States, Canada and Australia with
venture capital funding. trials expected to commence in Q2 2020. Certa
has partnered with the University of Michigan for
Talking about therapy Prof Darren Kelly said Phase II trial across the United States, Canada and
“We have developed an oral therapy which has Australia. If this late-stage trial is successful, the first
applications for various organs and indications, of these therapies could be on the market within five
and the company’s initial focus will be on treating years.
diffuse systemic scleroderma (SSc) – an auto
immunerheumatic disease characterized by abnormal Prof Darren Kelly, who has published over 200
thickening (fibrosis) of the skin, with greater systemic manuscripts in the field of translational research
implication on other organs such as the kidney’s, and novel interventions, many of which have had
gastrointestinal tract, heart and lungs. We will also a direct impact on human disease said “We will be
be conducting clinical studies to test the drug in SSc, undertaking its Phase II trials in the United States,
as well as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – where Canada and Australia next year and we are looking to
fibrosis of the kidney leads to kidney failure, dialysis, partner with a pharmaceutical company to bring the
kidney transplantation or, in extreme cases, death.” therapy to market.”

The company is utilizing a personalized medicine A recipient of the prestigious TJ Neale award for
approach in its CKD clinical trials to identify CKD outstanding contribution to nephrology, in 2009,
patients with rapidly progressing kidney fibrosis. Prof Darren Kelly is a Venture Partner with Medical
Certa has discovered a key driver of fibrosis, and Research Commercialisation Fund since 2015. He
using molecular analysis including genotyping and also associated with University of Melbourne as
phenotyping, will identify which patients develop Associate Dean (Innovation and Enterprise, MDHS)
progressive kidney fibrosis. Certa will target those and as Director of Innovation and Enterprise at the
most likely to develop the condition (as they’re Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), Director,
more likely to benefit from the therapy) while not Biomedical Research in the Department of Medicine,
treating those that will not respond to the therapy, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. He has also
significantly improving clinical responsiveness. founded another biotech start-up in Melbourne called
OccuRx, which is developing novel therapies for the
The firm has discovered a novel mechanism that treatment of ocular inflammation and fibrosis. This
is a key driver of fibrosis in a range of human diseases company has also been backed by MRCF, Brandon
and has developed a number of novel small molecule Capital and Uniseed.
candidates that are effective at switching-off this
mechanism. Certa’s oral therapy works by blocking Prof Darren Kelly, who has more than 25
a novel receptor, which is activated during tissue years of management and research expertise in
injury. Blocking the receptor halts the detrimental the life sciences and biotech sector said “Biotech
downstream inflammatory and fibrotic pathways that entrepreneurs need to be optimistic, tenacious
lead to organ failure. The company’s lead candidate and patient as it’s a long journey with mountains
FT011 blocks a receptor which is a key driver of to climb over. As an academic researcher and
fibrosis. FT011 candidate has demonstrated efficacy biotech entrepreneur, this has been one of the most
in numerous pre-clinical disease models, as well as rewarding careers imaginable.”
an excellent safety profile in Phase I studies across
several indications and will enter Phase II studies Ayesha Siddiqui
[email protected]



“With growth of ageing population,
robotic rehabilitation market will
continue to rise in APAC”

« physiotherapists and allowed for the advancement
of robotic rehabilitation and sensor technologies
Barry Hes, in providing world-class therapeutic exercises for
General Manager, DIH patients.
Pte Ltd, Singapore
Singapore faces an annual increase of some 7,000
The Rehabilitation Robotics technology is new stroke cases per year -or 20 new strokes a day-
increasingly being adopted in hospitals, clinics, of which around a quarter could benefit from robotics
and rehabilitation centres to provide extended rehabilitation at the hospital or community-based
training, offering patients a safer environment to get care. High patient growth is expected to be seen in
better therapeutic results. Cost-effective development the Asia Pacific region and DIH with its well-known
of robotic rehabilitation is greatly encouraging, given Hocoma and Motek brands is ready to support and
the increased expenses associated with long-term aid these growing numbers with state-of-the-art
traditional rehabilitation to meet the appropriate technology, innovation and rehabilitation solutions.
duration and intensity of rehabilitation services
required to manage disability. Growing Incidence How is the present trend in AR/VR applications
of Spinal Cord injuries and strokes also favour the leading robotic rehabilitation?
growth of Therapeutics Robot segment. Persons who With current advancements in technology, virtual
suffer from functional impairment like stroke who reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been
need a prolonged recovery time to regain their full introduced to aid robotic rehabilitation in such
potential can progress faster in motor learning with forms as customisable games that help robotic
robotic technology. therapy in retaining or increasing the interest and
motivation of patients when performing their physical
Among many leading global market leader for the therapy exercises. VR and AR training provides a
development, manufacturing and marketing of robotic safe environment for patients to practice “risky”
and sensor-based devices for functional movement everyday tasks – such as obstacle avoidance - in real
therapy, Hocoma AG plays a significant role with its situations and is extremely useful in occupational
rehabilitation robots which are explicitly designed cognitive therapies as well as gait training. Patients
to provide support to patient’s neurological patients with executive dysfunction can benefit from this type
and exoskeleton disabilities. Barry Hes, General of training as physiotherapists train the patient in a
Manager DIH Pte Ltd Asia pacific Hub of Hocoma totally safe environment while ensuring the exact
shared insights on the novel approach in the field with amount of stimulation is delivered to the patient.
BioSpectrum Asia. Edited excerpts When VR is combined with robotic training, we can
now have highly repetitive exercises in simulating
What is the current industry outlook of robotic daily tasks for the patients. This can help patients to
and sensor-based devices? transition from the hospital back to daily life much
Demand for physical therapy services across the easier than before.
globe have been on the rise, increasing due to
factors such as ageing populations, stroke numbers What are the ailments which can be cured by
and injury. Technology has certainly played an robotic and sensor-based technology?
active role in meeting these demands by supporting A wide range of patients will benefit from robotic and
sensor-based technologies. This includes patients
of all ages with a variety of diagnoses including
strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury,
cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and musculoskeletal
indications. However, also the elderly can profit
from these technologies to maintain and improve



their motor functions to stay healthier and more Can you brief R&D outcomes of DIH?
independent. For more than 20 years, DIH has Both DIH’s Hocoma and Motek product lines have
worked with researchers, doctors, physiotherapists been in the robotic rehabilitation industry longer
and patients to best understand what solutions are than anyone else, and so it stands to reason that
needed to help with rehabilitation in these fields and their devices are the most researched. Over 750
others. peer-reviewed studies prove the effectiveness of
DIH solutions, as well as the devices and treatment
The solutions, devices and technology provide plans being the topics of many PhD’s and countless
a combination of treatment options for upper and articles. What many of the finding point to is that
lower extremities that cover all degrees of motor alongside traditional therapies, DIH devices can be
impairment (severe, moderate, mild) during beneficial to the patients in aiding with aspects of
rehabilitation. Patients can benefit from robotic and treatment such as: Faster recovery times as patients
sensor technologies in improving their strength, can start intensive rehabilitation earlier; Effective gait
mobility and cognitive performance, all with the end trainings for therapists and patients; Optimal and
goal being to assimilate them back into their daily customizable patient challenges; Increased motivation
life. for rehabilitation in patients through gaming
environment and earlier recovery achievements and
How the use of state-of-the-art technology Efficient clinical settings using devices. Furthermore
does improve consistency and safety in and somewhat unique to DIH is how they work closely
physiotherapy? with institutions to find their unique “Total Solution”
Traditional physiotherapy sessions have seen – a term coined by the company - where their inhouse
physiotherapists physically aiding patients in therapists work with clinics and hospitals in all aspects
achieving the necessary motions required as part of of the technology from planning to staff training to
their therapy. Recovery is mainly dependent on the further patient success.
intensity and frequency of therapeutic intervention.
In Singapore, patient sessions have been traditionally How do you forecast the APAC robotic
physically dependent on their physiotherapists, rehabilitation market and its growth?
meaning hands-on patient treatment. The With the growth of the ageing population, and especially
conventional approach is a manually labouring in the APAC region, the robotic rehabilitation market
process that can limit the patients in their recovery will continue to rise. As an example, 9 of the top 10
if conducted as the only rehabilitation therapy, rehabilitation hospitals in the US already have DIH
due to the possibilities of things like inconsistent products, and similar numbers in leading facilities
approaches and intensities. The physical toll on the are predicted for APAC. Analysts have estimated
therapist themselves can also place patient’s safety at the market will achieve a strong compound annual
risk should an accident happen such as loss of grasp growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5 per cent - a huge number
or being unable to support the body weight of the - from now till 2027 and so preparation now is a key
patient. for success in dealing with this growth globally. DIH
is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and over
This is where robot-assisted therapy can truly 20 years has developed a presence across more than
support therapists. With the use of technology 70 countries all over the world looking to improve
during physiotherapy sessions, the quality of therapy patient lives across rehabilitation through innovation,
sessions is sure to be consistent across all patients, robotics and technology.
regardless of when or where the sessions occur or
who the therapist is, all at the intensity needed for Hithaishi C Bhaskar
each particular patient to achieve the best recovery [email protected]
potential. For example, many recommend the
number of steps to be achieved during a rehabilitation
session for a patient to improve their gait pattern to
above 2000 steps per session. The use of robotic
rehabilitation ensures that this can be achieved in a
controlled and intense setting, contrasting the often-
less-than 100 steps attained through “traditional
methods” alone. These devices in no way are made
to replace therapists, but rather act as a valuable
addition that supports them and enables therapists
to focus more on the patient and their treatment.



Spotlight on Comprehensive
Genomic Profiling

Over 1.2 million mutations in 350 genes in a human body causing cancer make every cancer
case a unique one. It needs to be treated that way. The genomic profile of each cancer patient
is unique and may hold the key to understanding the disease more in depth and treating it.

From the understanding of 250 types of cancers by requirement of precision medicine is a massive data of
the conventional diagnostic methods the medical patients. Researchers need large database so that even
field is moving fast forward to identification for the rarest type of cancer they have large sample size
of mutated cell. “The medical field has moved from to understand the specific cancer.
histological diagnosis in 2000 to molecular diagnosis
in 2018,” said Dr Christian Rommel, Global Head, “Foundation medicine has been building such a
Oncology Pharma Research, Roche. database for the past nine years and has now one of the
largest database containing genomic profiles of over
The new generation technology now knows the 300,000 cancer patients,” said Dr Prasanth Reddy, VP,
uniqueness of each cancer case by understanding what Medical Affairs, Foundation Medicine. The Foundation
mutations in which of the 350 genes that contribute Medicine is providing services like FoundationOne®
to cancer development cause it. Dr Rommel informed CDx which is first FDA approved broad companion
that scientists are targeting to find more genes that may diagnostic designed to provide physicians with clinically
contribute to cancer. actionable information based on the individual genomic
profile of each patient’s cancer. Its FoundationOne
“Advances in cancer biology are driving future Heme is a comprehensive genomic profiling test
and cancer care is becoming personalised,” said Josh for hematologic malignancies and sarcomas and
Jordon, Lifecycle Leader, Foundation Medicine, FoundationOne Liquid is next-generation liquid biopsy
Roche. Advances in genomic testing are driving the test for solid tumors utilizing circulating tumor DNA
personalisation of cancer care and helping physicians (ctDNA). All these services are available in India too.
understand patients’ unique cancer types.
Josh Lauer, Global Head, Personalised Healthcare
This uniqueness of each cancer case leads to Market Development, Roche, said that for driving
precision and personalised medicine which is “changing value from data and analytics what was needed was
the treatment paradigm and offering a big promise to meaningful data at scale and advanced analytics. With
cancer patients,” said Oliver Bleck, GM, Roche Pharma, high resolution view of each patient “we have increasing
Switzerland. He was addressing the media from level of information and the challenge was that how we
different countries at a media event on “The future of use it perfectly,” he added.
personalised healthcare: Advances in precision medicine
and genomics” held at the Roche Innovation Centre in Benjamin Szilagyi, Business Lead, Enhanced Data &
Zurich. Insights Sharing, Roche, said that meaningful medical
data gives exquisite insights in the disease in the last 30
The two-day event by Roche and its partner years. When asked about the requirement of facilities
Foundation Medicine, a molecular insight company from like artificial intelligence (AI) for analysis of such a huge
the US, introduced to the international media the new data, he said, “before analysis even data management is
emerging world of Comprehensive Genomic Profiling a problem that will have to be looked into. Even in some
(CGP) leading to precision medicine and targeted developed countries the data is stored on paper, which
& personalised healthcare. Several executives and needs to be changed.”
researchers of Roche and Foundation Medicine, as well
as academicians from universities made presentations “The data of Swiss patients is kept in the lab here only
on various aspects of genomic testing and its importance and the patients have the choice to give data for research
in understanding cancer and treating it. or not”, clarified Prof Holger Moch, Medical Director,
Department of Pathology and Molecular Pathology,
Charlotte Colthorpe, Group Global Scientific University Hospital Zurich (USZ). He explained how the
Director, Medical Affairs Team Lead, Skin and Rare role of pathologist has changed in molecular pathology.
Cancers, Roche, said, “Transition to precision medicine “It is two-fold and evolving,” he said.
leads to paradigm shift in cancer care.” But the main



He explained physicians are now able to personalise Expert explaining the participants at Roche Innovation Centre
treatment to the unique molecular profile of the patient
and thus precision medicine was driving personalised in Zurich
healthcare. He informed that Roche, Foundation
Medicine and the USZ have joined forces in an academic- out that molecular testing can be wrong some time and
industry collaboration to improve personalised cancer we are re-analysing the data. Kramar said that over
therapy using comprehensive tumor profiling and to 80 molecular track treatments were approved. It was
enhance personalised and targeted therapy options. extremely difficult to do randomised studies, he added.

USZ runs the lab to do genome profiling and generate Bogi Eliasen, Special Advisor on Future of Health,
reports of the cancer patients in Switzerland on the basis Copenhagen Institute of future studies, gave details of
of the Foundation Medicine system. “When a patient is Faroe genome project, a holistic genomic health approach
diagnosed with cancer, his genome profiling is done here in Faroe in Denmark. He said, “Genomics is going to
in the lab”, said Dr Martin Zoche, Director, Molecular be the most important baseline to be worked with.”
Tumor Profiling, USZ while showing the media persons Prof Roger Moos, President, Swiss Group for Clinical
functioning of the lab. The profiling costs $ 4000 in the Research, said that 32 per cent of cancer patients in
US and the process takes 14 to 20 days. Switzerland were treated outside of treatment guidelines
leading to lack of data collection. He gave details of the
Dr Abdullah Kahraman, Head, Clinical Swiss Group of Clinical Cancer Research (SKSS).
Bioinformatics in Molecular Tumor Profiling, USZ,
explained about the report generation. Besides the gene The event also included narrations of experiences
alternations, the report also carries potential therapy by the cancer survivors. Prostate cancer survivor Bryce
options and relevant clinical trials. “It is a simplified Olson, Global Strategist, Health and Life sciences Group,
clear report,” said Dr Merlene Thomas, Global Medical Intel Corporation; breast cancer survivor journalist
Lead for Integrated Molecular Medicine, Roche. Susan McClure, Founder and CEO, Genome Creative;
and sister of a cancer victim Ruth Knott, Co-founder and
The report is then matched with the existing database Head of Governance, the SJK Foundation, presented
to find out matching profiles of earlier patients and their experiences of passing through cancer and cancer
then put before the Molecular Tumor Board. The board care respectively.
facilitates its interpretation, assign precise treatment
and provide education, she said. “How to integrate ever- “The one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare no
increasing amount of information into clinical decision longer cuts it, and it is time for people to understand that
is a challenge”, she added. in order to get targeted treatments tailored uniquely to
them, they have to do some form of genomic testing,” said
Prof Alwin Kramer, Head, Clinical Cooperation Unit, McClure, who has devoted her life to better educating
University of Heidelberg, who discussed the cancer of the public about genomics.
unknown primary (CUP), said that CUP incidences have
decreased, probably due to improved diagnostics, but Milind Kokje
mortality has not improved. He added that CGP has the (Milind Kokje was invited to participate in the Media
potential to transform how we care for even CUP patients Event at Zurich and his trip was sponsored by Roche)
as it opens up the possibility to bring personalised
therapies to patients with CUP. He described the details
of CUPISCO, a Roche-initiated, multi-cohort trial in
CUP patients based on genomic profiling for comparing
the efficacy and safety of molecularly-guided therapy
versus platinum-containing chemotherapy in patients
with newly diagnosed, previously untreated CUP. “It is
planned at 128 sites in 32 countries over 790 patients”,
he said adding 193 patients have been enrolled till now.
Every patient in the CUPISCO study will be discussed in
molecular tumor board, said Prof Moch.

Prof David Thomas, Head, Cancer Division, Garvan
Institute, gave details of WINTHER, I-PREDICT,
TARGET clinical trials launched to study various aspects
of CGP. He predicted that molecular guided therapy will
be routine in clinical practice.

Later in a panel discussion he said, “We are
measurably improving patient survival.” He pointed



Need to capitalize on
regenerative medicine

« bedside. However, there persist challenges related to
regulations and ethics concerning clinical application
Dr Pradeep Mahajan, of such therapies, for which a strict governing
CMD, StemRx framework is needed to capitalize on the growing
Bioscience Solutions, market of Regenerative Medicine.
Mumbai, India
Since 2001, the Department of Biotechnology
With changing times, our approach towards (DBT) has invested in basic stem cell research and
situations has also changed. As a country, currently over 40 institutions, hospitals and industries
India is rapidly developing and has been in India are actively involved in this research. The
projected as the world’s fastest growing economy. Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative
India is also seeing a change in the type of age-specific, Medicine (inStem) was opened in the year 2009,
chronic, debilitating diseases. Thus, the manner in an initiative of the DBT, which is an independent
which we diagnose and treat such diseases is also research institute in this field. Also, as per the
seeing a paradigm shift. From empirical use of drugs National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research in 2017,
to target-specific treatments, we are now advancing at present, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
towards molecular dysfunction-based therapies, (HSCT) is approved and is effective for treatment of
and one such scientific development is regenerative hematological disorders such as leukemia, sickle cell
medicine or stem cell therapy. anemia etc. There is further provision for cell-based
therapy to be conducted in the form of clinical trials
To share the latest, autologous cellular therapy is after obtaining necessary regulatory approvals for
the beginning of a new era in the world of regenerative other indications. Public-private partnership may
medicine. An interesting avenue of research on possibly provide the much required thrust for rapid
stem cells is pertaining to cancer immunotherapy transition from research to clinical application. This
wherein mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may behave will also aid in wide dissemination of services to the
as regulated delivery vehicles. Current research in masses at affordable costs.
regenerative medicine and cell based therapy also
includes development of bioactive scaffolds that are But the regulatory guidelines differ in each country
capable of supporting activation and differentiation of and so does the outcome of this science. For example,
host stem cells at the required site. Japan is spearheading a campaign that has formed the
starting point of a radical regulatory reform for stem
This science is now being recognized worldwide, cell therapy- the Regenerative Medicine Promotion
and India is promoting research and development Act [RMPA]. The law allowed for conditional, limited-
in the field of Regenerative Medicine and Cell- term market approval of stem cell products after
based therapy. Several government and private early-phase clinical trials. Conditional approval may
institutions and hospitals have stepped into the field be granted with positive clinical data from as few as
of regenerative medicine research and cell-based ten patients that predict the safety and efficacy of the
therapies. AIIMS, Apollo, Fortis group of hospitals, tested cell products.
Narayana Nethralaya/Hrudayalay, NIMHANS etc. are
actively involved in research in the field. Moreover, While one may say that Asian countries are more
major pharmaceutical companies have also forayed flexible in their policies, considering approvals on
into this field and are investing to promote research case-to-case/condition-to-condition basis, it does not
and rapid transition of the technology from bench to mean that the regulations are relaxed. Globally, each
regulatory body defines use of the technology based
on demands of the nation. The ultimate hope is that
through such research, medical professionals will soon
have an advanced therapeutic modality for treatment
of various diseases, in a standardized manner.



NUS invents wireless SMART, NTU make
technology to monitor health polymer to kill drug-
resistant bacteria
Tiny subcutaneous implants that can continuously measure
a person’s blood glucose, heart rate and other physiological Researchers from Singapore-MIT Alliance
conditions are a Holy Grail of modern medicine. A team of for Research and Technology (SMART),
researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore,
recently made a quantum leap into turning this dream closer and Nanyang Technological University
to reality. They developed a new wireless reader that is so (NTU) have designed an antimicrobial
sensitive to minute changes in a sensor’s readings that it enables polymer that can kill bacteria resistant
the creation of sub-millimetre microsensors, tiny enough to to commonly used antibiotics, including
be injected under the skin. The team has developed a working the superbug Methicillin-resistant
prototype of the reader that can read a microsensor that is 0.9 Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The
millimetres in diameter while implanted underneath the skin breakthrough can pave the way for
using a syringe. In lab experiments, the reader was able to the development of medicine to which
monitor the rate of breathing and heart rate by detecting subtle bacteria have a significantly slower rate
movements of the battery-free microsensor. The researchers of developing resistance and help prevent
hope that this breakthrough will be a trailblazer for the future of hundreds of thousands of deaths each year
minimally invasive health monitoring solutions where patients caused by drug-resistant bacteria. While
are immediately alerted whenever their physiological conditions alpha-peptides have long been used to
such as heart rate and blood glucose cross a critical threshold. treat resistant bacteria such as MRSA, they
The next step is to develop a suite of passive (battery-free) tend to be rather unstable or toxic in the
microsensors that can monitor various physiological parameters body. For the first time, NTU and SMART
such as glucose, bioelectrical activity and blood chemistry. researchers tested the use of beta-peptides
to fight such bacteria in living beings.
Designed for stability, the innovative new
polymer degrades slowly in the body,
giving it more time to work. Importantly,
it has little to no toxicity impact.

India develops novel ECG device

Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) Thus the whole system can cover various ECG
researchers have developed a low-power device that abnormalities and finally come up with the prototype
can monitor electrocardiogram (ECG) and alert
patients and doctors in real-time about the risk board which looks similar to as a smartphone at the
of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). In addition, patient end. This work was partly supported
they have also worked on developing different by Department of Science and Technology
classification techniques and integrating (DST), Government of India under the
them to make a generic algorithm. A novel Internet of Things (IoT) Research of
System-On-Chip (SoC) architecture is Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems
developed in a low complex way by resource (ICPS) Programme, with the Project
sharing concept for the CVD automation. entitled IoT Based Holistic Prevention
and Prediction of CVD (i-PREACT).



China uses smart platform to treat CVDs

A joint research group at a confluent vascular
endothelial cell monolayer
the Shenzhen Institutes on the lumen, plays a
vital role in this process.
of Advanced Technology The researchers aim to
develop biomaterials with
(SIAT) of the Chinese dynamic properties to
actively modulate different
Academy of Sciences cell functions in specific
spatiotemporal manners,
recently demonstrated a just like the native extra
cellular matrix in the bodies.
remote-controlled smart The team believes that
biomaterials with dynamic
platform that effectively properties will contribute
to the progress of wound
directs programmed healing and complex tissue/
organ regeneration.
vascular endothelium

remodeling in a temporally

controllable manner, for

treating cardiovascular

diseases (CVDs). Vascular

regeneration is a promising

treatment for cardiovascular

diseases. Remodeling the

endothelium, by forming

Australia, US join Japan designs novel
hands for leukemia cancer detection test
A Tokyo based bio-venture company Hirotsu Bio
A collaborative research effort by Australian and US Science has developed a simple and effective test
scientists has led to the discovery of a promising new for cancer screening that requires just a drop of the
approach to treating some of the worst types of leukaemia, subject’s urine and a bunch of roundworms known
including an aggressive leukaemia that mostly affects as nematodes. The company has announced plans
babies. The research describes a new therapy developed to start trial tests soon using a urine test kit called
for MLL-rearranged leukaemia as having outstanding N-Nose in conjunction with local governments in
pharmaceutical properties. When used to treat specially- Fukuoka Prefecture. Nematodes, a type of worm
bred mice that were growing MLL-r leukaemia derived that is about 1 millimeter long and lives in soil, is
from human patients, the therapy produced a dramatic known to be strongly attracted to the odor of cancer
response, curing many of the mice. The researchers are cells. The technology automatically analyzes the
hopeful that the new therapy will prove successful against worms’ movements after approaching urine. Once
MLL-r leukaemia in humans, and anticipate the rapid a positive diagnosis is made, doctors can examine
translation of their research into clinical trials. the cancerous cell to determine what type of cancer
is involved.



University of Arizona inks MoU Singapore
with Amrita University announces
first brain
In their endeavor to offer globally relevant world-class programmes across bank
a broad spectrum of disciplines, India based Amrita University and the US
based University of Arizona are embarking on a multidisciplinary partnership Nanyang Technological
University (NTU Singapore),
in education and research. The Singapore’s Lee Kong
Letter of Intent (LoI) seeks Chian School of Medicine
to initiate multidisciplinary (LKCMedicine), in
collaborations for the highest partnership with National
standard curriculums leading Healthcare Group (NHG)
to integrated and dual-degree and National Neuroscience
programmes at the bachelor’s Institute (NNI), have
and master’s levels. The key launched Singapore’s first
disciplines include Engineering, brain bank. Hosted at
Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, LKCMedicine, the brain
Social Sciences, Medicine, bank aims to be a research
Public Health, and Agriculture. The programme will enhance Amrita as repository for brain and
the study-abroad site for the University of Arizona students and vice versa. spinal cord tissues from
This will engage more than 200 students annually for a minimum of one donors who have passed
semester. The LoI will also lay the foundation for exchange programmes for away. Setting up a national
faculty and students - undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral; collaborative brain bank resource for
partnership and participation in Amrita’s multidisciplinary experiential Singapore is a vision
learning programme in rural India, Live-in-Labs; joint research projects; shared by researchers
and joint research centers in strategic areas relevant to universities. and clinicians in the
neuroscience community.
AMED awards 3 joint Conceptualised by a joint
projects with A*STAR team from LKCMedicine,
NHG, and NNI, the brain
Japan Agency for Medical Research Sports, Science and Technology bank will open up new
(MEXT) in Japan, in collaboration research possibilities that
and Development (AMED) and with funding agencies in the will generate new knowledge
countries concerned. The selected of brain diseases. Named
Singapore’s Agency for Science, projects include- Developing a Brain Bank Singapore,
safe and potentially efficacious the joint research centre
Technology and Research piggyBac-based CAR-T cell strategy is co-funded by the three
for virus-related cancers between partners.
(A*STAR) have jointly selected Shinshu University in Japan and
National Cancer Center Singapore;
three outstanding R&D projects in Large-scale Preparation of Hair
Follicle Germs using Hydrogel
the field of “Cell Therapy – a focus Bioprinting between Kanagawa
Institute of Industrial Science and
on quality, efficacy and safety”. Technology (KISTEC) in Japan and
Singapore University of Technology
This is the second joint grant call and Design; and Human stem cell-
derived pancreatic beta cells for
launched under the agreement the treatment of diabetes between
Yokohama City University in
signed by AMED and A*STAR in Japan and Singapore’s Institute of
Molecular and Cell Biology.
March 2016. This programme is

conducted as part of the Strategic

International Collaborative

Research Programme (SICORP) of

AMED. The SICORP programme

provides support for international

joint research projects on the basis

of equal partnership in countries,

regions, and fields of cooperation

that have been designated by the

Ministry of Education, Culture,



Avantor opens customer Thermo Fisher
accelerates genomic
support centre in Shanghai profiling process

Avantor, Inc., a leading global provider of mission-critical Clinical researchers who take a traditional
products and services to customers in the life sciences and sequential approach to analyze myeloid
advanced technologies & applied materials industries, malignancies, a highly heterogeneous group
has opened an innovation and customer support centre of disorders, face a major hurdle: a laborious
in Shanghai, China to support biopharma research and and time-consuming workflow. To simplify
technology development in the region. Avantor now has and accelerate the genomic profiling process,
nine innovation centres worldwide. The new Avantor Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced that
laboratory will help biopharmaceutical companies the Ion Torrent Oncomine Myeloid Research
accelerate the development of life-changing treatments Assay will be available in 2020 to run on the
for patients in the region. It will specifically focus on newly introduced Ion Torrent Genexus System,
enhancing industry capabilities in the development and the first fully integrated next-generation
manufacture of safe and effective biological medicines sequencing (NGS) platform featuring an
such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and cell & gene automated workflow that delivers results
therapy. These treatments show great potential in China economically in a single day with minimal user
and are a fast-growing segment of the bioprocessing intervention and tissue sample input. Thermo
industry worldwide. Fisher has also announced an expanded
portfolio of NGS-based hematology-oncology
research assays that make it easier to assess
B-Cell Receptor (BCR) repertoire and rare clone
detection, including lymphoid malignancies.
The new Oncomine BCR IGH-LR Assay
provides accurate clonality assessment and
somatic hypermutation in samples, including
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small
lymphocytic leukemia (SLL) cell lines. The
Oncomine BCR IGH-SR Assay measures the
presence of rare clones with higher sensitivity
and lower limit of detection (LOD) than
traditional methods.

West and SCHOTT announce new partnership

West Pharmaceutical Services, other convenient, ready-to- configurations in order to
Inc., a global leader in innovative use combinations of West and meet various requirements,
solutions for injectable drug SCHOTT products, to be available whether changing batch sizes or
administration, and the on a small-quantity basis. accommodating different container
international technology group Forthcoming combinations of needs, especially for biologic drugs.
SCHOTT, a leading primary the products within the Ready In the near future, West and
packaging solutions provider, Pack and SCHOTT iQ platforms SCHOTT look forward to growing
have announced a partnership to will extend to customizable this partnership through more
combine the SCHOTT iQ platform combined high-quality product
with West’s Ready Pack system. offerings leveraging the SCHOTT
The collaboration will initially iQ portfolio as well as a range
launch by combining West of West and Daikyo proprietary
components and SCHOTT’s packaging components in response
adaptiQ high-quality RTU glass to the needs of global customers
vials and will expand to include and ultimately, serving patients.



MilliporeSigma licenses
CRISPR integration
technology to Promega

Promega Corporation has signed a license agreement

withMilliporeSigma, aleaderin genomeediting, toaccess

MilliporeSigma’s foundational CRISPR genome-editing

technology. Under the agreement, Promega will create

new research products for investigating endogenous

biology, including those for drug development. PerkinElmer
unveils detection
These tools will allow researchers to better read the assay for DMD

physiological or natural PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader committed to
innovating for a healthier world, has announced
levels of protein that its GSP Neonatal Creatine Kinase –MM
(CK-MM) kit has received US Food & Drug
expression, providing Administration (FDA) approval. This solution
is the first commercially available assay for
a more accurate screening newborns affected by Duchenne
Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is an X-linked
understanding of recessive disease and the most prevalent type
of muscular dystrophy, affecting approximately
protein behavior. 1 in 5,000 live male births. PerkinElmer’s kit
is specifically designed for screening newborn
Under this licensing babies by measuring CK-MM, the predominant
isoform in skeletal muscle cells and most specific
agreement, Promega to skeletal muscle damage, in dried blood spot
samples. CK-MM levels are typically elevated in
plans to use our DMD patients, as the degeneration of skeletal
muscle cells causes CK to release into the
intellectual property to bloodstream.

develop CRISPR-edited

cell lines, which can play a major role in determining

drug efficacy, toxicity and overall development.

MilliporeSigma intends to continue growing its CRISPR

intellectual property portfolio with technologies such as

paired Cas9 nickases, which reduce off-target effects,

and proxy-CRISPR, which offers researchers more

experimental options to accelerate drug development

and access to new therapies. MilliporeSigma holds

22 CRISPR-related patents worldwide covering both

methods and compositions, including the fundamental

use of CRISPR-Cas9 for genetic integration in

mammalian cells.

Shimadzu collaborates with NMU

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments medicinal plant chemistry for the laboratory valued at
(SSI), the American arm programme. This rigorous nearly $851,000, along with
of Japan based Shimadzu chemistry programme gives a framework for research
Corporation and Northern students and faculty access collaborations and internships.
Michigan University (NMU) to cutting-edge equipment The Shimadzu instruments
have partnered to establish and technology to conduct include multiple mass
the Shimadzu Analytical Core medicinal plant research. spectrometers: gas and liquid
Laboratory for Medicinal As part of the Shimadzu chromatography (GC-MS and
Plant Sciences. Through Partnership for Academics, LC-MS/MS) and inductively
this collaboration, SSI has Research and Quality of coupled plasma (ICP-MS), all
donated instrumentation Life (SPARQ) programme, of which serve a vital role in
for the laboratory to support SSI provided an in-kind ensuring product quality and
NMU’s first-in-the-nation donation of instrumentation safety.



Cerecin appoints Siddharth Mittal
new Chairman takes over as CEO,
JMD of Biocon
Cerecin, a Singapore based
biopharmaceutical company Indian biopharmaceutical company
focused on brain health, has Biocon has announced that Siddharth
announced that Joseph S. Mittal has taken over as Chief Executive
Zakrzewski has joined the Officer & Joint Managing Director of
Company’s Board of Directors the Company from December 1, 2019.
as Chairman. Zakrzewski is Mittal has been serving as Biocon’s Chief
an industry veteran with more Financial Officer (CFO) since August 2014.
than 25 years of biopharma Mittal takes over from Dr Arun
experience. After serving as Chandavarkar who retired as Chief
Chairman since 2012, Dr Claude Executive Officer & Joint Managing
Nash will step down but continue to serve as a Board Director. Director of Biocon on November 30, 2019,
Among a number of CEO and executive roles in the biotech, after 29 years of outstanding contribution
venture capital and pharmaceutical industries, Zakrzewski to the evolution and success of Biocon.
has served in two senior roles for lipid-based therapeutic Mittal has been a core member of the
companies with significant relevance to Cerecin. He was leadership team at Biocon since May 2013
Chairman and CEO of Amarin Corporation during which and has played an instrumental role in the
Vascepa, a lipid-based drug, was successfully developed and biosimilars success story so far including
launched. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors restructuring of the biosimilars business
of Amarin. Zakrzewski also served as Chief Operating into Biocon Biologics with an objective to
Officer of Reliant Pharmaceuticals during the period when unlock value for Biocon’s shareholders.
Omacor/Lovaza, another lipid-based drug, was successfully
developed and launched, leading to its 2007 acquisition by
GlaxoSmithKline. In addition, Zakrzewski spent 17 years with
Eli Lilly & Company in a variety of executive roles in R&D,
manufacturing, finance and business development. His most
recent role was in Corporate Business Development where he
had global responsibility for all licensing activities.

Zai Lab brings Dr Timothy Yap on Board

Zai Lab Limited, a China and US University of Texas MD Anderson
Cancer Center, Houston, TX.
-based innovative commercial Previously, he was a Consultant
Medical Oncologist and NIHR
stage biopharmaceutical BRC Clinician Scientist jointly in
the Phase I Drug Development
company, has announced the Unit, Lung Cancer Unit and
Cancer Biomarkers Laboratory
appointment of Dr Timothy Yap, at the Royal Marsden Hospital
and the Institute of Cancer
to its Scientific Advisory Board Research (ICR). Dr Yap earned
his medical degree from Imperial
(SAB). Dr Yap will advise Zai College London and completed
his general medical training in
Lab as the Company prepares to Oxford.

advance its internally discovered

therapeutics into the clinic. Dr

Yap is an Associate Professor in

the Department of Investigational

Cancer Therapeutics and Medical

Director of The Institute for

Applied Cancer Science at The



CStone ropes in pharma Dr Prathap
executive Shirley Zhao C. Reddy
Chinese biopharmaceutical company recognition from
CStone Pharmaceuticals has announced IMTJ, Berlin
the appointment of Shirley Zhao to the
position of General Manager for Greater Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman,
China and Head of Commercial. In this and Founder, Apollo Hospitals
position, Zhao will be responsible for Group, India has been honored
the commercialization of the company’s with the Lifetime Achievement
products and will report directly to Dr Award at the recently concluded
Frank Jiang, Chairman and CEO of IMTJ Medical Travels Awards
CStone. Zhao is a seasoned industry 2019 held in Berlin, Germany.
leader with over 26 years of experience working at multiple The award was conferred on
multinational biopharmaceutical companies. Equipped with Dr Reddy for his significant
exceptional business acumen and strategic thinking, Zhao has contribution to the growth
effectively executed numerous critical initiatives. Before joining and development of Medical
CStone, she was the Country GM for Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Value Travel. Dr Reddy, the
China, where she successfully led the launch of Opdivo, the first visionary Founder-Chairman
anti-PD-1 antibody to enter the China market. Early in her career, of Apollo Hospitals is widely
Zhao mainly focused in Oncology, including 10 years at Eli Lilly acknowledged as the architect
and 5 years at BMS. As a representative of the pharmaceutical of modern Indian healthcare.
industry, she made tremendous contributions to the formation and He is best described as a
development of the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology. compassionate humanitarian,
who dedicated his life to bringing
Dr Syrmalis step in as world-class healthcare within the
Chairman for GBS Inc. economic and geographic reach
of millions. The institution that
Founder and CEO of The iQ Group he envisioned and built Apollo
Global, Dr George Syrmalis has been Hospitals, steered a revolution
appointed as Chairman of the Board for and marked the birth of the
GBS Inc. The company is on a mission private healthcare industry in
to commercialize its Saliva Glucose India. Dr Reddy was conferred
Biosensor in the Asia Pacific Region, the ‘Padma Vibhushan’ the
including Australia, Indonesia, Japan second highest civilian award
and New Zealand. GBS Inc is a member by the Government of India,
of The iQ Group Global. Dr Syrmalis is an acknowledgement of his
trained in nuclear medicine-radiation untiring pursuit of excellence in
immunology and is a fellow of the College of Nuclear Physicians, healthcare in 1991.
the Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians, the American College
of Nuclear Medicine and the New York Academy of Sciences. He
has served as Executive Director of Innogenetics Solvay Pharma,
a pharmaceutical and diagnostics company headquartered in
Belgium, from January 2009 to January 2010; and Executive
Medical Director of UCB Biopharma (Union Chimique Belge),
a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in
Belgium, from January 2007 to January 2009. He has authored a
number of pioneering scientific works on translational research in
synthetic peptide imaging on the early diagnosis of breast cancer
and melanoma, published in the Lancet, European Journal of
Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.




600 exhibitors showcase illustrating
revolutionary approaches & technology
Afour day Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo 2019,
has brought together 600 exhibitors from 17
countries, with over 1850 booths illustrating
revolutionary approaches and technology from

December 3 at Nangang Exhibition Center, Taipei.

Expo 2019 witnessed more than 173,705 visitors,

52 hospital and medical institutes, 28 industry

associations, 12 medical conferences, and interactive

procurement, networking and marketing platforms.

Expo convened hospital decision-makers, buyers,

distributors, enterprises, venture capitalists and

company executives.

More than 2800 international professionals from

Europe (4.1 per cent), Southeast/South Asia (47.2 per

cent), Northeast Asia (11.3 per cent), America (9.3

per cent), China, Hong Kong, Macao (20 per cent) Dignitaries at the inauguration of the “2019 Taiwan Healthcare+

and Middle East (2 per cent) explored the offering of Expo” held at Taipei.

modern health care technology at the Expo. Expo Highlights
Addressing major aspects of healthcare needs,

Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo provided medical solutions

by strategically connecting biotech, pharmaceuticals, • Advanced medical technologies

medical devices, precision medicine, precision • Smart and Efficient Healthcare

machinery, IT, electronics and health management • New Solutions for Medical specialities

industries together. • Biotechnology and pharmaceutical

Co-organised by the Research Centre for • Precision health

Biotechnology and Medicine Policy (RBMP), Ministry • Inno Zone

of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Economic Affairs,

Ministry of Science and Technology, Council of

Agriculture and Taipei City Government, Taiwan and Vietnam, all seeking opportunities for new

Healthcare+ Expo 2019 evidenced innovative collaboration in Asia’s booming healthcare market

technologies striving together to shape the futuristic attended the Expo.

healthcare system. Leading associations such as Israel Advanced

The Chairman of 2019 Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo Technology Industries (IATI), Medical Software

Su Jia-Chyuan said, ‘The Expo since its inception in Industry Association of Australia (MSIA), The

2015 has seen more than 40 per cent growth in 4 years. Federation of Thai Industries (F.T.I.), The Private

Integration of biotech resources by iPMI has created Hospital Association Thailand (TPHA), Thai

leaders and icons in Taiwan’s healthcare industry. Medical Informatics Association (TMI) and Malaysia

By 2024 Taiwan can see output of $195 billion in Association for Cell Therapy (MACT) have partnered

healthcare ecosystem which can greatly enhance start- with Expo which saw participation of innovative health-

up ventures”. technology companies led by Acer, Asus, Advantech,

Founder of Taiwan Healthcare+ Expo, Wang Jin- Compal, Coretronic, Foxconn, iEi, Wistron, Qisda

Pyng said, “Taiwan brings new drive and dimension (BenQ), Quanta and leading international brands

to the healthcare industry and further aims to create such as Microsoft, Hitachi, Philips, Varian, IBA,

around $200 million global market share by building INTUITIVE SURGICAL SARL, Roche, Abbott.

a strong ecosystem for the collaboration of medtech, (Hithaishi C Bhaskar was invited

biotech, government, and academics through iPMI.” to participate in “2019 Taiwan

International delegations including official Healthcare+Expo” held at Taipei sponsored

representatives from Australia, China, Hong Kong, by Taiwan External Trade Development

Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Council (TAITRA)).

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