DOES SINGAPORE HAVE THE ANSWERS?
No one believes that the smörgåsbord of eastern opportunities will fix all the problems inherent within the industry. A central
theme resonates: Drug development in the industry today does not work, plain and simple.
The collective agreement is that change is needed, "but what really is changing?" asks the industry.
ASLAN Pharmaceuticals' CEO, Carl Firth says that "moving pieces around on an organizational chart is not going to help and
creating new acronyms to name a new business unit is not going to help." Risk is the only solution, and sometimes "that means
giving up bits that we felt were a vital part of the DNA of the industry," he says.
But who is ready? And does Asia—a playground for those looking to escape the bureaucracy and sometimes, intransigent ways
of the west—have any idea of what the DNA consists of?
One of the answers that will certainly mix the double helix is the convergence of industries, primarily medtech and pharma.
"Pharma companies are running out of ideas, their IP are expiring, they need new products/ drugs," says Yoh-Chie Lu, Chairman
of Biosensors, the first medical device company listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). "In these days we have to think outside
of the box and not just say all we need is drugs, but also deliver them in better and more effective ways."
But radical alone won't do it. Neither will complacency.
"Asia won't succeed without the rest of the globe working together," says Mr. Kaw is director Singapore Innovation Center
(P&G). "Interdependency will be key to drive more innovation."
This space between malleability and meticulousness, is where Singapore can play the biggest role. With its phenomenal ability
to foresee, to plan, and to execute—forging successful partnerships, promoting interdisciplinary research, merging industries,
or attracting the brightest scientific acumen—Singapore promises to provide the stability necessary to uphold an exploding
Asia, and, in turn, help lead the revitalization of an industry.