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Singapore makes headway in cardio device industry

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pacemakers? cardiac devices? manufacturing? cardiovascular?

Cardiovascular diseases account for 27 per cent of all deaths throughout Southeast Asia, according to recent data from the World Health Organisation. Kevin Lai, director of the Biomedical Sciences group at Singapore's Economic Development Board, points out that with the steady rise of economies in Asia, desk jobs outnumber labour-intensive work. More young men and women, therefore, are susceptible to cardiovascular problems due to lack of physical activity.

In response to this health trend, Asia's share of the global cardiac device market is expected to grow by 38 per cent, according to consulting firm Pacific Bridge Medical. WTP Advisors identify China and India as the primary growth drivers over the next five years.

Whereas a decade ago, virtually all cardiac devices used in patients in the region were made in the U.S. and imported, medical technology companies are increasingly focused on meeting Asian demand through local providers. Besides physiological differences among a diverse Asian population, companies will also have to grapple with the complex regulatory environment, which differs from country to country.

Singapore was an early entrant into the cardiac design market, partnering with Texas-based Greatbatch for an R&D centre aimed at designing active implantable medical devices for the cardiovascular and neuromodulation segments. It is the first Asian venture by Greatbatch and the first R&D centre for active implantable medical device in Asia. Beyond R&D, Medtronic is working on expanding its manufacturing capability with the goal of producing 50 per cent of its pacemakers from its facility in Singapore to address demand within the region.

Singapore has managed to differentiate itself from global competitors by building a solid reputation for stability and quality. Its strong base of suppliers adhere to the country's strict IP protection and international regulatory requirements. The presence of contract manufacturers like Intricon, Univac, and Heraeus provides opportunities for flexible, outsourced manufacturing models.

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