Encompassing technologies that diagnose, treat and/or improve human health care, the Medical Technology (Medtech) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.1 per cent between 2014 and 2020 and achieve global sales of $514 billion in 2020
The growth in medtech will support rising health-care costs, an ageing population, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and a rise in consumerism as consumers are increasingly taking a proactive approach to personal health and demanding a higher quality of care and lifestyle. Asia, with its growing economy and population, represents a major untapped market for Medtech companies. This provides an opportunity for forward-looking Medtech organisations to innovate and develop cost-effective solutions to address the region’s unmet healthcare needs.
The Singapore government has identified Medtech as a key sector within the biomedical sciences industry for development. With our existing capabilities in engineering, manufacturing and biomedical sciences, Singapore is well placed to nurture a thriving Medtech sector to further boost the local economy. Today, Singapore is the R&D home for 30 global medtech companies including Biosensors, Becton Dickinson, Alcon and Hill-Rom, as well as local start-ups such as HealthSTATS and Veredus Laboratories.
As a part of this collaboration, late stage technology development of projects within healthcare (Commercialisation Projects) from the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT), which is a non-profit consortium of Boston's leading universities, hospitals, and companies are identified and brought to Singapore to increase the pipeline of commercialise-able projects and then to adapt these solutions for the Asian market. Additionally, through involving local SMEs as technology partners / vendors, these Commercialisation Projects potentially serve as product pipelines for these companies and in turn help grow the local MedTech industry.
Collaborations in Neurotechnology
1. Neurodevices Programme
The Neurodevices Programme is a cross-council collaboration between A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R), Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) and National Neuroscience Institute (NNI). Tapping into the institutes’ strengths in microelectronics design, neural signal processing, animal models, clinical trials and rehabilitation, the programme aims to develop a wireless cortical implantable neurodevice microsystem that has applications in prosthetic control for clinical usage and restoring patient mobility.
2. Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE)
A tripartite partnership between A*STAR, Ministry of Defense (MINDEF) and National University of Singapore (NUS), the Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE) is an inter-disciplinary centre for collaborative research in cognitive science and neurotechnologies.
Research programmes at SINAPSE include peripheral neuroprosthesis, neurodisease modeling and diagnostics, neurophotonics, and cognitive and neuromorphic engineering.
3. Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore (RRIS)
The Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore (RRIS) is a collaboration between A*STAR, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National Healthcare Group (NHG). RRIS focuses on inter-disciplinary research and innovation to develop healthcare solutions in rehabilitation science and technology, leveraging on the expertise of scientists, engineers and clinicians from A*STAR, NTU and NHG.
Areas of focus include psychosocial rehabilitation, neurocognitive rehabilitation in stroke, frailty and nutrition, and advanced technologies for rehabilitation continuum of care.
Health and Wellness Kiosk (HAWK)
HAWK is a first generation patient self-help kiosk, developed in collaboration with IP owners National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) and Integrated Health Information Systems (IHIS).
The prototype has been deployed at Woodlands Polyclinic since April 2012 to standardise workflow for the screening of patients with upper respiratory tract infection.
The kiosk prototype performs the following functions:
Scan barcode (IC/patient clinic card)
Health Screening (Patients answer basic health questions relating to medical history and clinical symptoms related to Upper respiratory tract infection)
Transfers Information and converted directly into doctor’s electronic notes/ records
Shortens consultation and data-process time
BMRC funded Project HAWK as a commercialisation project under the A*STAR-CIMIT (Centre for Integration of Medicine and Technology, Boston Massachusetts) Collaboration.
2. My Health KioskTM
Source: Eastern Health Alliance
MyHealth Kiosk is a second-generation patient self-help kiosk developed in collaboration with IP owners Eastern Health Alliance (EHA) and SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP).
Since 2014, two kiosks have been deployed for test bedding.
One kiosk has been deployed at Bedok polyclinic to augment the monitoring of chronic diseases in elderly patients and cut down consultation time by reducing the frequency of doctor visits.
The other kiosk has been deployed at Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities senior activity centre (Bedok) to track senior citizens’ health measurements and habits to influence changes in lifestyle (e.g. diet and exercise).
Originally known as SEEK (Self Empowering and Enabling Kiosk), the kiosk was funded for development and trials by BMRC as a commercialisation project under the A*STAR-CIMIT-EHA collaboration. EHA has since rebranded SEEK as “MyHealth Kiosk”.
Delta-IBN Life Science and Diagnostics Lab
Joint lab between Delta Electronics & IBN, A*STAR
The Delta-IBN Life Science and Diagnostics Lab brings together IBN’s strengths in medical diagnostics, microfluidic systems and biological assays, and Delta’s expertise in microelectronics, optical devices, and global operations. The lab aims to develop next-generation infectious disease detection kits through collaborative research projects undertaken by Delta, IBN, and local universities. The lab focuses on developing enabling technologies for improved infectious disease detection and personalized medicine. Current diagnostics require a long processing time and extensive, specialized laboratory equipment, and the lab will develop portable miniaturized all-in-one systems to provide on-the-spot, real-time detection results.
A*STAR & US EPA partners in Predictive Toxicology
A*STAR and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to develop new approaches to identify chemicals that could pose a risk to human health. While chemical safety testing has been performed mainly on laboratory animals for close to a century, there is growing scientific agreement that animal testing, besides being costly and time consuming, may result in poor prediction of human toxicity due to inter-species differences. Furthermore, animal testing for cosmetics products and ingredients has been banned in regions such as the European Union (EU) due to ethical concerns.
Scientists from IBN, BII, and SigN, together with researchers from the EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology are interested in collaborating on three areas of research. Using predictive kidney technologies developed by IBN and BII, the teams will be able to predict the effects of environmental toxicants on the human kidney efficiently and accurately. 3D liver models developed at IBN and computational tools at the NCCT are also capable of identifying novel predictive biomarkers of human liver toxicity. Machine learning approaches will be used to analyse and improve existing predictive models of acute and sub-acute liver toxicity. A developmental toxicity project also aims to investigate the potential of certain chemicals to disrupt the development of blood vessels and the blood-brain-barrier during prenatal development – a key process during one of the most important life stages.