atans1

Posts Tagged ‘EDB’

Pharma R&D here/ “Fair and balanced” reporting and analysis?

In Economy, Media on 16/04/2015 at 2:26 pm

Last Friday, Today’s opening paragraphs of a story read:

Even as several multinational pharmaceutical giants are setting up their regional headquarters here to much fanfare, some have quietly wound down their research investments in the Republic.

In the past five years, at least three major pharmaceutical companies have shut down their research and development (R&D) operations here. In 2010, American pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company closed its R&D unit of 130 staff, nine years after it was set up.

Three years later, United States-based Pfizer closed its clinical research unit, which was set up in 2000. It laid off 30 employees as a result.

Last year, British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ended its eight-year-old R&D operations at Biopolis.

Noting the timing of the closures, which came after the end of tax breaks and other incentives offered by the Government for starting operations here, analysts noted that given the high business costs, it was inevitable for some pharmaceutical companies to rationalise their operations after being here for a while.

“It may not be so visible immediately, but the trend is catching up,” said Dr Siddharth Dutta, industry manager for life sciences at Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific. “Talent is expensive in Singapore and when the Government grants and tax breaks come to an end, it only adds to the cost of research operation. Sometimes it is cheaper to acquire a regional company with promising pipeline molecule instead of having a dedicated R&D site.”

Mr Jason Humphries, managing director of Good Pharma Consulting in Singapore, added: “Government grants do influence investment decisions in R&D as pharmaceutical companies continue to revamp their research portfolios.”

So not very good news for S’pore’s pharma R&D efforts, is it? Or at best, the prospects are mixed?

You’d be wrong to think so, it seems.

Guess what were the headlines?

“S’pore still ‘compelling location’ despite spate of R&D closures– Firms rationalise operations after lapse of tax breaks, other govt incentives, analysts say”

To support the “S’pore still ‘compelling location’” angle, Today then reported

Responding to TODAY’s queries, Mr Kevin Lai, executive director of biomedical sciences and consumer businesses at the Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “A pharmaceutical company’s decision to withdraw its R&D operations from Singapore is usually a global business decision and is taken as a result of reasons specific to the company. In most cases, Singapore is not the only location affected by the restructuring.”

He added that the statutory board works closely with affected companies to minimise the impact on the employees and to provide new employment opportunities in Singapore.

[He would say this wouldn’t he? His KPIs depends on pharmas’ R&D efforts here.]

Mr Humphries pointed out that the Republic’s focus was clearly on getting pharmaceutical firms to set up their “control towers for regional and emerging markets”.

He also noted that companies are consolidating after the recent spate of mergers and acquisition in the region.

Eight of the top 10 Japanese pharmaceutical companies, for example, have established their regional headquarters here. [Yes, but as my dog tells me, the Japs are marginal, struggling pharma players on the global stage.]

Last month, GSK also announced that it would use Singapore as a base to steer its growth in Asia, with the set-up of a new regional headquarters here.

And those who left still have some presence here:

Pharmaceutical companies, including some of those that have wound down their R&D investments here, are getting into external collaborations with Singaporean research and clinical groups, or outsourcing their R&D operations to these organisations.

For example, United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca is collaborating with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the National University Heart Centre and the National University of Singapore.

Swiss drug-maker Novartis has also entered into several partnerships with Singaporean research institutes since it started the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in 2002.

A Pfizer spokesperson said: “Key to expediting the translation of science into breakthrough therapies of tomorrow will be driving greater, deeper and stronger collaborations across the healthcare landscape. At Pfizer, we know we can’t go at it alone and are actively supporting the development of an emerging, highly networked ecosystem.”

Mr Lai said the EDB continues to see interest from companies to invest, collaborate and conduct R&D here given Singapore’s “strong scientific capabilities and the growth of the Asian market”.

[He would say that wouldn’t he? His KPIs depends on pharmas’ R&D efforts here.]

For example, Chugai Pharmaceutical announced in February that it will invest S$476 million in total by 2021 into its Singapore research institute, Chugai Pharmabody Research.

Mr Lai said: “We are confident that Singapore remains a compelling location for pharmaceutical R&D, manufacturing and commercial operations, and a biomedical sciences hub for Asia and beyond.”

All in all the “S’pore still ‘compelling location’” rests on the say so of the EDB’s executive director of biomedical sciences and consumer businesses. The quotes of the private sector people in the article are motherhood statements.

I’m not saying that the S’pore isn’t a “compelling” place for pharma R&D. All I’m saying is that there isn’t evidence of this going by the article.

EDBI replacing Temasek? Is CWT a gd bet?

In EDB, Logistics, Temasek on 05/02/2010 at 5:16 am

(Update on 1 December: See link to November 2010 post at end of article)

Remember last yr when Temasek revised its charter and took out something about “growing our own companies” (my words, not theirs)?

The local MSM, bloggers and various chatter-boxes moaned and wondered who would replace Temasek in its nurturing role?

Well last week, we may have gotten an answer: though based on the silence of the  chatterliterati, they did not know, or care, that their question might have been answered.

EDB Investments (EDBI) took around 2.7% of CWT’s enlarged capital, paying S$12.6 million.

According to a CWT statement, the investment arm of the  Economic Development Board subscribed to 16 million new shares in the company at $0.788 per share. The issue price represented a discount of nearly 10%  to the counter’s weight-average price of $0.875 the previous  Friday.

Net proceeds from the sale would be used to finance CWT’s long-term expansion.

For those not familiar, CWT offers integrated logistics services to commodities and chemical companies, in addition to providing international freight forwarding. It claims to have the largest container yard capacity in Singapore with four container depots.

Now all these activities are activities that the EDB wants to promote here. So you can the fit.

The transport and storage industries account for 9% of Singapore’s GDP (gross domestic product) and employed about 182,000 people in 2008: quite a contribution neh?

And, as BT said “the competitiveness of Singapore’s trading and export-orientated manufacturing industries depends on a strong logistics industry that can offer high value, integrated supply chain services to connect Singapore with the global markets.”

Other good reasons to invest in CWT Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 243 other followers