Chugai Pharmaceuticals to invest $355m by 2021 in Singapore R&D

Brand image from the company website

Japan’s Chugai Pharmaceuticalwhich operates satellite labs throughout Asia, has plans to invest $355 million by 2021, to ramp up and accelerate its research and development (R&D) capabilities in Singapore.

Currently, Chugai operates three satellite labs in Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

Dr Hisafumi Okabe, VP and GM of the Research Division at Chugai stated: “A crisis of infectious diseases has been increasing globally. Given this situation, the acceleration of R&D of drugs, creation of innovation leading to revolutionary therapies, and international cooperation in healthcare are becoming urgent issues.”

South Korea and Taiwan have also invested heavily in biomedical sciences, with the pharmaceutical industry, government and academic institutions often collaborating in industry-driven partnerships to create solutions to the healthcare issues facing those countries.

Chugai is known for its strength in developing cancer and arthritis treatments. With a 60 per cent stake owned by Swiss drugmaker Roche, the world’s biggest cancer drugs producer.

Chugai reported a net income of $425 million for FY2014, on revenues of $3.85 billion.

The investment will accelerate the centre’s ongoing projects to develop new therapeutic antibodies to address unmet medical needs, in addition to validating  novel antibody engineering technologies currently being developed.

Dr Okabe, who is also the COO of Chugai Pharmabody Research (CPR), has noted that Asia is an attractive growing market. The accumulation of expertise in drug discovery among pharmaceutical associations could also facilitate the countering of issues common to the region, such as geriatric diseases in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, which face ageing populations.

Chugai’s latest multimillion investment will make its Biopolis centre at the One North district one of the largest pharmaceutical research operations in Singapore. Located in Buona Vista, the district hosts some of the world’s top pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and medical technology firms. These include Abbott, GSK, Novartis and Procter & Gamble.

Dr Okabe said that when CPR set up in 2012 in Singapore, the original plan was to invest about $160 million in five years. The increased investment size was largely due to the Republic’s strong infrastructure for biomedical research. “In fact, with the great support from EDB and A*STAR, CPR was able to commence its operations quite smoothly, which could take longer in other countries.” he added.

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Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.