Empowering Scientific Progress: A Conversation with Thermo Fisher Scientific's Sho-Wen Yeo on Biopharma, Healthcare, and Clean Energy in Indonesia

07 May 2024 | Tuesday | Interview

Exploring Thermo Fisher's Vision for Advancing Science and Collaboration Across Indonesia's Diverse Landscape
Sho-Wen Yeo, Vice President and General Manager of Southeast Asia & Taiwan, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Sho-Wen Yeo, Vice President and General Manager of Southeast Asia & Taiwan, Thermo Fisher Scientific


In an exclusive interview with BioPharma APAC, we sit down with Sho-Wen Yeo, Vice President and General Manager of Southeast Asia & Taiwan at Thermo Fisher Scientific, to discuss the company's strategic initiatives in Indonesia. From the selection of Jakarta as the site for Thermo Fisher's inaugural Indonesian office to impactful partnerships with NBRI and Mandaya Hospital Group, Yeo shares insights into Thermo Fisher's commitment to driving scientific advancement and fostering innovation across various sectors. Discover how Thermo Fisher's comprehensive solutions are propelling healthcare, clean energy, and environmental monitoring initiatives, contributing to the growth and sustainability of Indonesia's scientific community.


Why was Jakarta selected as the location for Thermo Fisher’s first Indonesian office? 


Our office was established in Jakarta due to its market access and robust infrastructure. By being in Jakarta, we aim to be in closer proximity to our key stakeholders, such as research and educational institutions, governmental bodies, and private entities. 

While our local team operates from Jakarta, we also recognize the importance of facilitating the development of scientific capabilities in other provinces and fostering growth in underserved populations. This is particularly relevant in sectors such as healthcare and environmental monitoring, where we strive to make a meaningful difference. Thus, while our base is in Jakarta, our vision extends across the country. We're committed to expanding our presence and facilitating scientific advancement across the many provinces in Indonesia.


How will the partnerships with NBRI and Mandaya Hospital Group specifically advance Thermo Fisher’s goals in Indonesia? 



Thermo Fisher's mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. This mission is what drives our colleagues, shapes our long-term goals, and guides the direction of our business both globally and locally in Indonesia. Our strategic collaborations with NBRI and Mandaya Hospital Group to advance battery technology and stem cell research in Indonesia, respectively, reflect this mission perfectly.


What sets Thermo Fisher apart is our ability to cater to various industries through our extensive product portfolio and comprehensive end-to-end workflows. The partnerships with NBRI and Mandaya Hospital Group exemplify the breadth and depth of our portfolio, demonstrating our effectiveness in targeting different segments. Whether it involves biotech, biopharma, food safety, clean energy, healthcare or other industries, our goal is to offer comprehensive workflow solutions that empower our customers to excel in their scientific pursuits.


What are the expected impacts of the MoUs on Indonesia’s healthcare sector? 



Through our partnership with Mandaya Hospital, we are confident that this will be a step forward in advancing personalized treatments in Indonesia. In recent years, personalized cancer immunotherapy in the form of CAR-T cells has effectively treated some forms of leukemia and lymphoma. Thermo Fisher offers protein and cell analysis tools to support researchers in developing workflows for engineering T cells or other cancer-fighting cells.


The MoU with Mandaya Hospital Group will advance stem cell research, scale up stem cell production as well as facilitate CD19 CAR-T therapy development, a highly effective immunotherapy for patients with hematological malignancies. 


This partnership will leverage Thermo Fisher’s cutting-edge solutions, notably, the Gibco™ Cell Therapy Systems (CTS) portfolio of GMP-grade reagents and closed cell processing systems for mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) and CAR-T therapy production. Thermo Fisher will share expertise by providing training and technical assistance to further Mandaya Hospital’s capabilities in translation research and clinical manufacturing.


Can you detail the roles Thermo Fisher will play in advancing battery technology and healthcare innovations in collaboration with local institutions? 



With Indonesia’s transition to renewable energy, our role in the application and research of battery technology and energy storage is more prominent than ever. 


In the field of battery technology and clean energy, we work with our partners in the battery industry by providing electron microscopy, image analysis, and spectroscopy tools needed to characterize and analyze battery materials and components and their performance. We have end-to-end capabilities from extraction and processing of raw materials to quality assurance in the production line, to research and development of new battery designs. Through advanced battery solutions and collaborative partnerships, we help our customers move forward faster, optimizing processes and driving innovation, from research to recycling. We partner globally to deliver advanced, integrated solutions from the research laboratory to the battery production line that ensure material quality and accelerate improvements in battery production efficiency.


Furthermore, in line with the healthcare transformation and reforms in Indonesia, we offer workflows that enhance the quality of healthcare services by empowering researchers and clinicians. 


For instance, our technologies target infectious diseases and build resilience in healthcare through providing real-time PCR for research and detection of infectious disease pathogens. We also facilitate advancement in chronic (non-communicable) diseases in areas such as cancer research. Whether it is detecting biomarkers early or deterring migration to other sites, we support cancer researchers with solutions that expedite their journey from discovery to potential clinical translation for cures and preventive treatments. As global healthcare shifts towards an increasingly personalized care approach, we collaborate with the precision medicine community to provide capabilities for population profiling and targeted therapeutics. Our capabilities also extend to numerous other areas, such as biobanking, clinical microbiology, molecular and diagnostic testing, as well as cell and gene therapy, just to name a few.


What measures are in place to ensure the sustainability and long-term success of these partnerships?



We recognize that providing comprehensive support to our customers goes beyond just offering technology. It involves offering technical support, application expertise, know-how, and hands-on training. We have implemented measures to integrate these elements of support, including technical and service support, training programs and workshops, into our partnerships. By doing so, we aim to foster a collaborative environment that promotes the growth and longevity of these partnerships. 


How does Thermo Fisher plan to engage with and contribute to the local scientific community beyond these initial partnerships? 



Beyond the space of healthcare and clean energy, we also plan to deepen our engagements with stakeholders in the areas of environmental monitoring, food safety, and biopharma.


Our technologies in environmental analysis for air, water, and soil offer solutions to detect and quantify a broad spectrum of environmental contaminants. Whether it is analyzing air quality, monitoring drinking water, assessing wastewater, or evaluating soil composition, we can contribute to a better understanding of environmental challenges, paving the way for effective mitigation strategies. Across Vietnam and Malaysia, our air monitoring solutions have been deployed to assess and monitor air quality. These analyzers provide accurate and real-time data, enabling our customers to contribute to sustainable initiatives aimed at improving air quality and safeguarding the environment and public health.


In the biopharma sector, we aspire to be a key partner as Indonesia develops its production capabilities for new therapies and vaccines. Through our comprehensive suite of solutions for clinical drug development, we offer platforms and services that span the entire drug development spectrum, from discovery and clinical development to clinical phases and commercialization. These solutions play a pivotal role in pandemic preparedness and building healthcare resilience. We supported governments, industries, and academia globally in accelerating the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, therapies and other treatments during the pandemic. Building on this, we have since expanded our vaccine production capacity worldwide and support over 250 vaccine and therapy projects for our biopharma customers, including Pfizer and Moderna.


Recognizing the significance of the food and agriculture sector, particularly in Indonesia, a leading producer in categories such as palm oil, coffee, and spices, we are dedicated to supporting our partners in ensuring food safety, authenticity, quality control, and environmental monitoring throughout the food production process. Our comprehensive capabilities encompass testing food products for contaminants and developing innovative production methods that enhance food safety and drive forward food innovation. These solutions for testing of contaminants, verifying the authenticity and origins of food ingredients, and assessing nutritional content are widely utilized in Singapore as well.


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