11. CONTRIBUTING TO SINGAPORE’S START-UP CULTURE
The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) aims to conduct innovative research that will have an impact on the commercialisation of technology and its translation to clinical practice.
Working at the interface of science, engineering and medicine, IBN has created a niche as the first institute to unite the two exciting fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology. Leveraging on nanotechnology, IBN’s multidisciplinary research teams are able to engineer sophisticated biomaterials and devices to tackle challenging problems in nanomedicine, cell and tissue engineering, biodevices and diagnostics, and green chemistry and energy.
IBN has contributed significantly to the development of Singapore’s local entrepreneurial ecosystem over the last ten years through the establishment of seven spinoff companies – Curiox Biosystems, SG Molecular Diagnostics, SG Microlab Devices, HistoIndex, CellSievo, Baldr Biosystems and Invitrocue. Over the next ten years, IBN hopes to contribute further to the next phase of Singapore’s economic development by nurturing a vibrant environment to support local spinoffs and start-ups, and working even more closely with the clinical community to translate new technologies for the benefit of healthcare. IBN Spinoff Timeline
• 2008: Curiox Biosystems was founded to commercialise IBN’s DropAr ray™ technology, a miniaturised bioassay technology platform that revolutionises drug discovery, analytical research and clinical diagnostic testing appl ications. The company has won Biospectrum Asia’s Emerging Company of the Year Award 2010, A*STAR Scientist- Entrepreneur Award 2010 and the 2010 Asia Pacific Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award in the field of BioAssays for In Vitro Diagnosis.
• 2009: SG Molecular Diagnostics Pte. Ltd. (now SG MicroLab Devices Pte. Ltd.) licensed IBN’s MicroKit technology to develop a range of sample preparation and diagnostic devices. In 2011, SG Microlab Devices rolled out the first product under the MicroKit platform, Lysonator, an automated laboratory tool for tissue dissociation.
• 2010: HistoIndex was established to commercialise IBN’s liver fibrosis diagnosis platform. It won Biospectrum Asia’s Asia Pacific’s Bioscience Industry Emerging Company of the Year 2012, IBM Global Entrepreneur SmartCamp Asia 2012, A*STAR Scientist- Entrepreneur Award 2013 and Red Herring Top 100 Asia Award 2013.
• 2011: IBN’s microsieve technology for isolating and detecting circulating tumor cells in patient’s blood was licensed to CellSievo Pte. Ltd. This device can be used to select the appropriate treatment for a cancer patient, and determine success or futility earlier than conventional approaches.
• 2012: Baldr Biosystems was established to commercialise IBN’s Virtual Reaction Chamber, which provides laboratory quality testing coupled with a novel lowpowered thermal management system. Working with a US Health Foundation, the company plans to bring the system to developing regions in Africa and India to facilitate HIV and tuberculosis testing at decentralised locations.
• 2012: Invitrocue was established to commercialise IBN’s 3D monolayer membrane and digital pathology software. The first platform technology allows highthroughput 3D cell culture that facilitates in vitro toxicity testing, while the second platform technology provides a unique computer/image-based solution for classifying liver fibrosis that may also be adapted for other diseases.