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A*STAR SIMTech, University of Leeds sign medtech partnership

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:medical devices? lab on chips? manufacturing?

The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research unit of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the University of Leeds of U.K. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. According to them, the alliance aims to collaborate on the R&D of innovative medical devices in mutually identified areas such as lab on chips, medical implants and implantable devices that innovative joint replacements and biological scaffolds for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal tissue regeneration to improve quality of life.

Leveraging on SIMTech's core capabilities in manufacturing research to develop technologies relevant to the future needs of the medical devices manufacturing industry, this partnership stimulates medtech innovations to help grow the medical device industry in Singapore. The medtech industry is a growing market for the local precision engineering and components manufacturers. When equipped with the relevant capabilities. These industry clusters can diversify into the medtech industry. As such, these sectors and medical professionals are expected to benefit from the co-operation and knowledge transfer.

The Singapore medtech sector targets to achieve S$5 billion in manufacturing output by 2015, having grown from S$1.5 billion in 2000 to about S$4.3 billion in 2011. Over the same period, its manpower base more than doubled from about 4,000 to 9,000. The combination of an ageing population and growing affluence are fuelling the demand for high quality medtech products. This presents tremendous opportunities for the local precision engineering companies and global medtech companies to extend their presence in Singapore to address the healthcare needs in this region.

The collaboration with the University of Leeds, well known for its research in medical and biological engineering, will help to fill the gap between material and engineering research to translate research outcomes from the lab to manufacturing readiness. It will also boost the exchange of experience, knowledge and information; engagements of specialists/students for study and consultation and interactions between academia/researchers in both institutions. Funding opportunities, shared use of facilities, academic collaboration and joint organisation of scientific events will also be explored.

"The collaboration is a synergistic platform to translate medical science breakthroughs and innovations to effective and affordable medical devices by leveraging on engineering and manufacturing research capabilities of both institutions," said Lim Ser Yong, executive director of SIMTech. "With SIMTech's precision engineering and high value manufacturing capabilities coupled with a strong industry partnership track record, the institute is able to optimise its integrated technology capabilities in process, automation and manufacturing systems to grow the local Medtech industry."

"We have seen a significant increase in demand for medical devices that is driven by the needs of the ageing population and an expectation for increased reliability and performance. The collaboration with SIMTech provides an excellent opportunity to support the development of medical devices that will more clinically and cost effectively match implant function and therapy to patient need," stated John Fisher, director of the institute of medical and biological engineering at the University of Leeds.

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