Thermo Fisher Scientific Expands Sterile Drug Facility in Singapore, Strengthening Asia-Pacific BioPharma Market

02 June 2023 | Friday | Influencers

Thermo Fisher Scientific's new facility in Singapore enhances vaccine supply chain resilience and strengthens future pandemic preparedness in the Asia-Pacific region.
Selva G, General Manager of Singapore site, pharma services, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Selva G, General Manager of Singapore site, pharma services, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a global leader in serving science, announces the expansion of its sterile drug facility in Singapore, marking a significant milestone in its dedication to advancing healthcare and supporting the Asia-Pacific market. The state-of-the-art facility, strategically developed in collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), provides rapid vaccine fill-finish capabilities and reinforces the region's vaccine supply chain resilience. In an exclusive interview with Selva G, General Manager of Singapore site, pharma services at Thermo Fisher Scientific, we delve into the strategic importance of Singapore as a biomedical hub, the facility's capabilities, and Thermo Fisher's vision for further growth and innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.


Could you provide more details about the new sterile drug facility in Singapore and its significance for Thermo Fisher Scientific and the Asia-Pacific market?

Thermo Fisher Scientific's new sterile drug facility in Singapore represents a significant leap forward in our dedication to advancing healthcare and serving as a trusted partner in the Asia-Pacific market. This facility is the result of a strategic investment that solidifies our ability to support customers in delivering groundbreaking medicines and vaccines across the region. It seamlessly integrates into our global steriles network, showcasing our comprehensive expertise in end-to-end solutions, contract development, and manufacturing capabilities. The facility complements our Customer Experience Centre and Bioprocess Design Centre, where we exhibit the latest bioprocessing, life science, and analytical technologies. With a team of over 2,000 professionals, this endeavour not only contributes to Singapore's thriving biomedical hub but also underlines our unwavering commitment to delivering impactful solutions and propelling scientific progress in the Asia-Pacific region.



How did the collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) contribute to the establishment of the current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) facility? What are the key benefits of this collaboration?

The collaboration with EDB has been crucial in establishing our current cGMP facility. With their support, we have built a facility that enables rapid vaccine fill-finish and offers comprehensive pharmaceutical development and manufacturing capabilities. This partnership highlights the importance of public-private collaboration in preparing for future health emergencies, strengthening the global supply chain, and enhancing access to innovative therapeutics and vaccines.


With the new facility offering rapid vaccine fill-finish capabilities, how will it enhance the vaccine supply chain resilience in the Asia-Pacific region and contribute to future pandemic preparedness?

The new sterile fill-finish facility in Singapore is set to make a significant impact on vaccine supply chain resilience in the Asia-Pacific region and aims to enhance our preparedness for future pandemics. The facility's advanced capabilities in rapidly filling and finishing vaccines, seamlessly integrated into our global steriles network, will ensure the efficient flow of critical medicines and vaccines. It's an investment that aligns with the Singapore government's dedication to keeping trade channels open and facilitating the movement of essential supplies, including vaccines and test kits, even amidst the pandemic's peak. This initiative strengthens the region's overall infrastructure, bolstering our ability to tackle future health crises with greater readiness and effectiveness.


Can you explain the strategic importance of Singapore as a hub for the production and supply of pharmaceutical drugs? What factors led Thermo Fisher Scientific to choose Singapore for this expansion?

We chose to expand in Singapore because of its growing status as a biomedical hub. With robust manufacturing capabilities and extensive connectivity, Singapore holds a significant position as a hub for pharmaceutical drug production and supply in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, with access to a highly skilled workforce, Singapore provides the talent necessary to drive innovation and strengthen our role in the industry.


What are the specific capabilities of the high-speed, fully automated aseptic fill-finish line for small and large molecules in the new facility? How will these capabilities support the accelerated delivery of critical vaccines and medicines to patients?

The high-speed, fully automated aseptic fill-finish line with the latest isolator technology in our new facility is a crucial component of Thermo Fisher Scientific's end-to-end solutions for pharmaceutical manufacturing. It's integrated within our global steriles network, allowing us to efficiently and precisely package vaccines and medicines. This advanced capability greatly improves the speed and reliability of delivering critical medications to patients. By strengthening vaccine supply chain resilience and future pandemic preparedness in the Asia-Pacific region, we're reinforcing our ability to effectively respond to health crises and ensure a robust supply of vital medications.


Could you elaborate on the research capabilities at Thermo Fisher Scientific's Customer Experience Center and Bioprocess Design Center in Singapore? How will these facilities contribute to scientific breakthroughs and the development of new medicines and vaccines?

The Customer Experience Center, which spans 14,000 square feet, offers a comprehensive product portfolio in Southeast Asia. It features more than 250 cutting-edge products across various fields, including cell, protein, molecular biology, genetic analysis and sequencing, chromatography and mass spectrometry, and cell therapy. This facility serves as an application-based knowledge-sharing hub, enabling industry experts to engage in training, demonstrations, and proof-of-concept experiments, thereby fostering innovation and collaboration.


Meanwhile, the Singapore Bioprocess Design Center is an integral part of the Bioprocess Design Center (BDC) network in the Asia-Pacific region. With a focus on supporting the bioprocess industry, this dedicated facility provides bench-to-pilot scale capabilities. By organizing seminars and training programs centered around bioprocessing, the facility will empower bioprocess scientists and engineers in the Southeast Asia region, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to drive advancements in the field. Additionally, the Bioprocess Design Center offers customized services that expedite process development and scaling up, ensuring that the industry remains at the forefront of innovation and maintains a commitment to excellence.


How has Thermo Fisher Scientific demonstrated its long-term commitment to the Asia-Pacific region through its presence in Singapore over the past five decades? What other investments or initiatives have been made to support the region's biomedical hub development?

Over the past five decades, Thermo Fisher Scientific has consistently invested in expanding operations and establishing strategic facilities that cater to the region’s scientific needs. We have collaborated with academic institutions, research organizations, and government agencies to facilitate scientific advancements and help nurture local talent. 


Earlier this year, Thermo Fisher Scientific launched its new Cell Therapy Collaboration Center Program in Singapore to accelerate cell therapy development across the Asia-Pacific region. The center, based in Singapore, will serve as the Asia-Pacific hub to provide cell and gene therapy developers with tailored support on their path to clinical manufacturing and commercial success. By consistently investing in Singapore and the broader Asia-Pacific region, Thermo Fisher has solidified its position as a trusted partner in scientific research and innovation. 


Can you provide an overview of the role Thermo Fisher Scientific's over 2,000 employees in Singapore play in contributing to the evolution of the biomedical hub in the Asia-Pacific region? How will their expertise and efforts support the company's goals and customer needs in the region?

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s employees in Singapore are instrumental in shaping the biomedical hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Through their research and development efforts, they create innovative solutions for genomics, proteomics, and drug discovery. They also contribute to manufacturing and supply chain operations, ensuring efficient production and timely delivery of products. Additionally, they provide exceptional customer support and training, helping customers maximize the use of our technologies. Our employees also actively participate in industry events and collaborate with academic institutions and research organizations to promote knowledge exchange and joint projects. Overall, their expertise and efforts support the company's goals and customer needs — driving innovation, reliable product supply, customer satisfaction, and advancements in the biomedical field.


Looking ahead, what are Thermo Fisher Scientific's plans and vision for further growth and expansion in the Asia-Pacific market? Are there any specific areas of focus or upcoming projects that you can share?

Thermo Fisher Scientific places great importance on the Asia-Pacific market and is dedicated to fostering strategic partnerships and enhancing service capabilities in the region. In May 2023, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BRIN (Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional) in Indonesia to strengthen the country's research infrastructure. Under this agreement, Thermo Fisher Scientific will support BRIN's efforts in establishing centers of excellence throughout Indonesia, while collaborating on tailored training programs and workshops to address specific needs. Furthermore, Thermo Fisher will assist BRIN in expanding its research network regionally and globally, focusing on areas such as material science for clean energy development and advancements in cell and gene therapies. This MOU exemplifies our commitment to driving growth and innovation within the regional scientific community, facilitating accelerated scientific breakthroughs for researchers, organizations, and companies.


How do you envision Thermo Fisher Scientific's expanded capabilities and facilities in Singapore impacting the overall landscape of biomedical research, development, and manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region?

With our expanded capabilities and facilities in Singapore, we aim to provide seamless end-to-end solutions to customers in the region, from molecule development to accelerated delivery of critical medicines to patients. We built the sites with flexibility and scalability in mind, with additional space to provide capacity for our customers’ growing needs. This includes additional filling lines and added capabilities for prefilled syringe and cartridges, a filling line of smaller scale for process development and clinical trials, commercial sterile lyophilized lines and packaging.


Furthermore, with the new operational labs, we also hope to facilitate knowledge-sharing among the scientific community in the region, through trainings, demonstrations, and proof-of-concept experiments to strengthen overall research and innovation capabilities.

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