A*STAR, One BioMed Launch S$9m Joint Lab to Make Diagnostic Kit for Infectious Diseases

One BioMed launch S$9m joint lab to make diagnostic kit for infectious diseases
From Left: Dr Cheng Ming-Yuan (Scientist- IME)- Dr Janak Singh (Senior Manager- Industry Development)- Dr Park Mi Kyoung (CEO of One BioMed)- Prof Dim-Lee Kwong (Covering Executive Director of IME)- Dr Surya Bhattacharya (Director- System-In-Package)- Dr Cheam Daw Don (Assistant Manager- Industry Development)

SINGAPORE - A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and One BioMed- an A*STAR spin-off- launched a S$9 million joint lab on Thursday (29 November). The aim is to launch within the next five years- a point-of-care diagnostic kit that can test for up to 20 types of infectious diseases simultaneously in just 20 minutes.

Today- the spread of disease is accelerated by a lack of access to accurate data in real time. Early infectious disease detection using molecular diagnostics has held the promise of accuracy- but until now has been limited in both speed and cost. One BioMed is developing a portable point-of-care diagnostic system- where doctors and patients will no longer have to wait for days for samples to be sent to a central laboratory for tests. Furthermore- the team has reduced costs substantially such that they are comparable to that of the conventional central laboratory approach- making it an affordable option for both clinics and hospitals- where clinicians are demanding ready access to diagnose their patients.

Located in one-north- the new 1-500-square-foot dedicated joint-lab facility- to be fully operational by March 2019- will see pilot production of the automated diagnostic kit- using IME's lab-on-a-chip technology and One BioMed's silicon biophotonics and solid-phase nucleic acid purification platform technologies- originally developed at IME.

IME's lab-on-a-chip technology compresses multiple steps in testing - that traditionally had to be conducted using a range of laboratory equipment – into a single step process- housed within a chip or cartridge that is smaller than a smartphone. One BioMed combined capabilities across the three diverse disciplines of semiconductor silicon photonics- chemistry and biology to give the kit both the sensitivity needed for accurate detection and speed. 

The new joint lab is One BioMed's second with A*STAR. The first was launched in January 2017 in collaboration with A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) to develop molecular diagnostic assays for the Asian clinical infectious disease testing market.

Since it was established- One BioMed has secured S$1.75 million in funding- in addition to the S$7.5 million invested in the technology development- and has continued to work closely with A*STAR on its path towards commercialisation. 

“Innovation is a must in an age where businesses are being disrupted and redefined. IME's joint lab initiative with One BioMed is an example of how A*STAR helps nurture innovative local enterprises to drive economic growth. We are delighted to take one step forward to improve medical diagnostics in healthcare.” said Prof Dim-Lee Kwong- Covering Executive Director- IME.

“As we complete the development of our first product- One BioMed's needs are shifting to commercialisation. IME is an ideal launchpad for that effort with their expertise- depth of talent and available resources. We are grateful for A*STAR's continued commitment to fostering an ecosystem for not only early stage R&D- but also advanced stage product development.” said Dr Mi Kyoung Park- Founder and Chief Executive Officer- One BioMed.

About A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME)

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science- Technology and Research (A*STAR). Positioned to bridge the R&D between academia and industry- IME's mission is to add value to Singapore's semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies- innovative technologies and intellectual property; enabling enterprises to be technologically competitive; and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry. Its key research areas are in integrated circuits design- advanced packaging- bioelectronics and medical devices- MEMS- nanoelectronics- and photonics. 

For more information on IME- please visit www.ime.a-star.edu.sg.

About the Agency for Science- Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science- Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that spearheads economic oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation- we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society.
As a Science and Technology Organisation- A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore- and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare- urban living- and sustainability.  
We play a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders in our Agency and research entities- the wider research community and industry. A*STAR's R&D activities span biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering- with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. 

For ongoing news- visit www.a-star.edu.sg.

About One BioMed Pte. Ltd.

One BioMed- an A*STAR spin-off- is an early-stage startup in Singapore with two cutting-edge- digital-health- molecular diagnostics (MDx) platform technologies: a simple- but state-of-the-art- DNA/RNA extraction system & silicon photonics-based sensing. The technologies are poised to revolutionize precise- early infectious-disease detection at point-of-care (PoC). These technologies enable the simultaneous detection of a library of both bacterial and viral infections within 20 min in a fully automated format at costs similar to a single MDx test in a central laboratory- giving physicians the tool to diagnose precisely a panel of diseases without having to guess- based solely on symptoms. The company's first product is an automated nucleic acid purification platform focused on the low-throughput research/clinical lab market. The PoC clinical testing platform focused on infectious diseases which disproportionately affect Asia- namely Pediatric Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis- will follow.