HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Value of Singapore's pharma market hit $1.22b in 2017: BMI Research

Biopharmaceutical giants continued to choose Singapore as the site for their manufacturing headquarters.

Singapore's pharmaceutical market could be valued $1.22b, experiencing a 5.6% increase from the previous year, BMI Research revealed. According to a report, the country will remain "a highly attractive manufacturing base" for international pharmaceutical companies due to minimal levels of operational risks and the government's support for the industry.

BMI's Operation Risk Index gave Singapore's operational risk environment a score of 82.2 out of 100, higher than the regional average of 53.6. "We expect ongoing efforts to strengthen the already positive business environment to ensure that the republic remains an attractive investment destination over the coming years. The pharmaceutical industry has been a key pillar of the country's economy and we believe its importance will continue to grow as traditional drivers such as electronic manufacturing slow,” it added.

The research team noted that Singapore's approach involves government initiatives and "friendly" policies, enabling public-private partnerships, ease of making the country a manufacturing base, infrastructure for economies of scale, and incentives for digital health and medtech. "According to Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), these policies have helped the sector ‘catapult itself into a significant and growing contributor to Singapore’s economy’ - pharmaceuticals is a major contributor to the country's manufacturing output and accounts for 3% of its GDP," the team added.

Moreover, the establishment of a strong scientific research foundation will place Singapore in a good position to grow its clinical trials subsector, BMI Research observed. "Beyond the advanced medical infrastructure in place, the country has several attributes that enhance its attractiveness as a location for clinical research. This includes a heterogeneous population, the presence of leading contract research organisations and an efficient regulatory process. Organisations such as the Singapore Clinical Research Institute further enhance the country's position by forming clinical research networks in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region that support the conduct of clinical trials in Singapore and around the region," it said.

BMI Research also noted that leading biopharmaceutical companies have chosen to make the country their global manufacturing base. GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Amgen, and Takeda have chosen the country for their base of Asia Pacific operations and facilities. "The country has also made significant inroads in areas such as biologics manufacturing with Baxter, Lonza, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche announcing capital investments to set up biologics facilities in the range of $2.7b," it added.

Ho Weng Si, director of biomedical sciences at EDB, said the outlook for the industry as a whole remains positive for the next few years. "Singapore's commitment to medical research will allow it to maintain a competitive edge in the development of high-value healthcare products."

BMI Research forecasts that over the five-year period to 2022, the pharmaceutical market will reach a value of $1.62b, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% in local currency.

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