BioPIPS Consortium In Singapore Expands Membership, Seeks To Enhance Productivity And Sustainability In Biologics Manufacturing

BioPIPS Consortium In Singapore Expands Membership
BioNTech, GSK, Sanofi, NTU, NTUitive, NUS and SIT signed a membership agreement on 15 March 2024 to join the Biologics Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (BioPIPS) consortium led by A*STAR and supported by EDB. EDB’s Cindy Koh, Executive Vice President and Member of EXCO witnessed the membership agreement signing.

SINGAPORE – The Biologics Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (BioPIPS) consortium has been expanded with the addition of global immunotherapy company, BioNTech. The company joins global pharmaceutical companies GSK and Sanofi alongside Singapore’s research organisations and institutes of higher learning Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) and its innovation and enterprise company, NTUitive, National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

The BioPIPS consortium is led by A*STAR and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). It aims to grow Singapore’s capabilities in biologics manufacturing, focusing on increasing productivity and sustainability, to transform the existing base of biologics production in Singapore.

The consortium will focus on biologics products including recombinant therapeutic proteins, and vaccines, which played a critical role in saving lives and preventing severe disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BioPIPS consortium welcomes small and medium-sized enterprises, large local enterprises, and other multinational corporations to join as service and technology providers, to support the translation of technology developed by the consortium. Companies will be able to access shared resources, develop new capabilities related to biologics production, and contribute to the advancement of technologies developed. This will help them to respond more swiftly to sudden spikes in demand for related biopharmaceutical products during a pandemic, contributing to greater patient access among other benefits.

In 2022, the partners inked a Memorandum of Understanding and have since been involved in exploratory discussions facilitated by A*STAR and EDB to identify manufacturing challenges and define problem statements for potential research projects. They include the use of data analytics to improve manufacturing processes, and the development of more agile and sustainable solutions for manufacturing. More information on the BioPIPS consortium’s workstreams can be found in Annex B.

“The BioPIPS consortium brings together leading biopharma companies, our vibrant local research communities, and key service and technology providers to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in this field. With support from EDB, we aim to transform our local industry by enhancing productivity and sustainability in biologics manufacturing, as well as enable companies to become more agile and resilient. The consortium underscores A*STAR’s commitment to driving technological innovation and supporting Singapore’s Manufacturing 2030 vision of increasing manufacturing value add,” said Professor Lim Keng Hui, Assistant Chief Executive, Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR.

“EDB supports the vision of BioPIPS to transform biologics and vaccine manufacturing in Singapore. Through partnerships with our institutes of higher learning and local enterprises, the consortium will advance the development and introduction of new technologies for biopharma manufacturing sites. This will enhance Singapore’s position as a global manufacturing hub for biopharma companies, and strengthen the overall capabilities and competitiveness of our local ecosystem and workforce,” said Ms Cindy Koh, Executive Vice President and Member of EXCO, EDB.

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"The past years have demonstrated the crucial role that science and technology play in creating and bringing innovative medicines to people. Initiatives that foster exchange between all stakeholders of the biopharmaceutical value chain are an important pillar to further a productive environment for manufacturing innovations. With our first planned regional mRNA manufacturing facility in Singapore, BioNTech is excited to bring capacities for another innovative technology to the region and to be part of Singapore's vibrant biological manufacturing ecosystem. We look forward to joining forces in BioPIPS with the aim to help advance the next wave of novel manufacturing technologies,” said Mr Andy Tjiawi, Site Head Singapore, BioNTech Pharmaceuticals Asia Pacific.

“At GSK, we believe in the power of collaboration to help prevent and change the course of disease for millions of people and get ahead of disease together. We look forward to leveraging the diverse capabilities in BioPIPS to advance manufacturing science and technology in Singapore,” said Mr Chan Siong Wan, Site Director, GSK.

“Sanofi is delighted to be one of the founding members of BioPIPS consortium. We strongly believe that by bringing industry and academia insights and capabilities together, we can realise significant opportunities in the resolution of manufacturing challenges, increase productivity and efficiency as well as find solutions for sustainable and modern manufacturing. We look forward to an exciting collaborative journey with our industry peers, A*STAR, and local universities to deliver bold, innovative, and environmentally sustainable solutions to biopharmaceutical manufacturing challenges and ultimately supporting Sanofi’s purpose: to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives,” said Mr Koh Liang Hong, Site Head, EVolutive Facility, Sanofi.

“The expansion to include global biotechnology company BioNTech provides additional industrial expertise for our ongoing projects, creating an ecosystem that benefits research and innovation. With NTU strengths in interdisciplinary research and innovation, we hope to work closely with all members of the consortium to boost manufacturing productivity and operational efficiency of the biologics and vaccines sector. This is in line with our commitment under the NTU 2025 strategic plan, which aims to solve some of humanity’s grand challenges, including addressing the needs and challenges of patient care,” said Professor Lim Kah Leong, Associate Vice President (Biomedical & Life Sciences), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

“NUS is excited to welcome BioNTech to the BioPIPS consortium, which is dedicated to advancing Singapore’s biologics capabilities. Together, we aim to scale up manufacturing output, streamline operational processes, and integrate sustainable practices, to strategically position Singapore as a manufacturing hub for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients,” said Professor Thorsten Wohland, Director, Research Governance and Enablement, Office of the Deputy President (Research and Technology), National University of Singapore.

“Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) hopes to strengthen the BioPIPS capabilities through scale up, machine learning, process modelling and automation technology. We will leverage our strong industry linkages in the pharma and supply chain industry to focus on applied research that will result in cost competitive implementations. SIT’s involvement in the BioPIPS consortium will also enhance our applied learning pedagogy to drive authentic learning and equip learners for the industry,” said Professor Susanna Leong, Vice President (Applied Research), Singapore Institute of Technology.


The BioPIPS consortium will focus on three workstreams:

  • Sensing and Modelling: Harnessing machine learning and mechanical modelling technologies, together with smart sensors, to enable simplified and faster workflows. Data analytics will be integrated to improve processes and performance, increasing productivity of the overall manufacturing process.
  • Sustainability: Tackling sustainability challenges in biologics and vaccines manufacturing, by exploring the use of novel materials and circular economy approaches, as well as models to promote more sustainable and resilient supply chains. Currently, manufacturing processes typically utilise single-use (disposable) equipment due to the extremely sterile environment required to ensure product purity.
  • Compliant Agility: Focusing on the removal of manual tasks to achieve greater productivity in manufacturing facilities, while ensuring compliance, by using solutions like robotics and advanced analytics. Manufacturers will be able to reduce the time needed for technology transfer and the production and validation of new products, without compromising on the compliance and quality of products.


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 R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and 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 improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis.

About the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is responsible for strategies that enhance Singapore’s position as a global centre for business, innovation, and talent. We undertake investment promotion and industry development, and work with international businesses, both foreign and local, by providing information, connection to partners and access to government incentives for their investments. Our mission is to create sustainable economic growth, with vibrant business and good job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans.

For more information on EDB, please visit www.edb.gov.sg