National platform launch to boost Singapore’s drug development efforts

DPM Heng Swee Keat experiencing one of EDDC’s advanced technologies
DPM Heng experiencing one of EDDC’s advanced technologies, the high-throughput screening laboratory, which is equipped with high-end robotics to quickly conduct a large number of pharmacological tests in a short period of time. (DPM scans a barcode on a microplate of samples, and places the microplate into a machine.)

Collaboration key to creating greater value for biomedical ecosystem

On 26 June, Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Chairman of the National Research Foundation (NRF) officially opened the Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC), a national platform for drug discovery and development to channel high potential drug candidates toward commercial and clinical outcomes. The new centre integrates A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), the Drug, Discovery and Development (D3) unit, and the Experimental Biotherapeutics Centre (EBC) and will build on the combined capabilities we have developed over the years to support our partners in efforts to discover and develop innovative medicines.

DPM Heng also announced the launch of the Target Translation Consortium (TTC), to facilitate early-stage drug discovery efforts across public sector institutions. The consortium brings together A*STAR, Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS), Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU (LKCMedicine), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National Healthcare Group (NHG), National University of Singapore (NUS), National University Health System (NUHS), and SingHealth.

In addition, the new Singapore Therapeutics Development Review (STDR) grant scheme was launched, consolidating three separate schemes by A*STAR, National Health Innovation Centre Singapore (NHIC), and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) into a new grant that funds early-stage projects.

These partnerships will facilitate collaboration in an increasingly sophisticated drug discovery and development space.

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