A roundup of some of the most significant healthcare and life science stories from across Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region, including the ongoing hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and a significant acquisition for Korean Celltrion.
Coronavirus vaccine: Singapore scientists discover 5 antibodies that can combat COVID-19
A team of scientists in Singapore has discovered 5 antibodies that can block coronavirus and protect against the key mutations developed in the virus during the pandemic, according to the country’s defence research and development organisation, Defence Science Organisation (DSO). PTI reported that the human trials for the lead antibody, AOD01 will begin in the upcoming months after getting approval from the Health Sciences Authority.
Pharma exports a rare bright spot for Singapore economy as pandemic drives demand
Singapore’s exports of pharmaceutical products have surged this year as the coronavirus pandemic prompts worldwide stockpiling of drug ingredients, providing a much needed salve for an economy facing its deepest recession in its 55-year history. Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that exports more pharmaceuticals than it imports, according to Fitch Solutions. It has more than 50 pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, including plants owned by eight of the world’s ten biggest pharma firms.
Singapore plans wearable virus-tracing device for all
Singapore plans to give a wearable device that will identify people who had interacted with carriers of coronavirus to each of its 5.7 million residents, in what could become one of the most comprehensive contact-tracing efforts globally. Testing of the small devices, which can be worn on the end of a lanyard or carried in a handbag, follows limited take-up of an earlier smartphone-based system and has further fuelled privacy concerns about contact tracing technology.
Singapore’s Hyphens Pharma revs up digital push amid COVID-19
Having transformed its traditional wholesale business into an online medical hypermart two decades ago, Hyphens Pharma International is now reaping the benefits of its digital strategy. The company, which sells pharmaceuticals and other consumer healthcare products, is now exploring how digital technology can aid other segments of its business too.
War against coronavirus: Asean and India’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine
In laboratories around the region, Asia’s best minds have come together in a race to find a vaccine to halt the spread of COVID-19. The common goal has birthed partnerships among some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical players, as well as cooperation between nations. The Straits Times correspondents find out how three Asean countries (Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia) and India are faring in this crucial effort to end the pandemic.
Celltrion’s Subsidiary Acquires Primary Care Product Assets for Asia Pacific Markets from Takeda
An effort to strengthen its R&D capabilities in the Global Small Molecule Drug sector, this signing allows Celltrion to acquire Takeda’s Primary Care businesses in the Asia Pacific region and secure rights for patent, trademark, approval and sales of a total of 18 prescription and over-the-counter brands currently available in 9 markets in the region, namely, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. These products grossed a combined sale of approximately USD 140 million (approx. KRW 170 billion) in Fiscal Year 2018. Celltrion agreed to acquire these rights for USD 278.3 million.