Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the launch of the Thermo Fisher Sterile Fill-Finish Facility on 19 May 2023.
Mr Michel Lagarde, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Thermo Fisher Scientific,
Staff and partners of Thermo Fisher,
Ladies and gentlemen
Cheong Boon and I are delighted to be here this afternoon to launch Thermo Fisher’s Sterile Fill-Finish Facility.
In fact, it is a triple celebration for Thermo Fisher today. Besides this facility, you also launched a new Customer Experience Centre and a Bioprocess Design Centre.
These mark the latest milestone in the strong and successful partnership that Singapore and Thermo Fisher have built over the years.
I’m happy to see Thermo Fisher deepening your presence in Singapore and helping to grow your biopharma ecosystem.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened our appreciation of the biopharma industry and its critical contributions.
Without vaccines, we would have seen far higher death rates, deeper economic recessions, and a slower return to normalcy.
Looking ahead, the biopharma industry holds the key to addressing common challenges such as an aging population. Innovative therapeutics can address some of these challenges.
And in a more inter-connected world facing climate change, the emergence of Disease X or the next global health crisis is not a matter of “if”, but “when”.
At the same time, having lived through this pandemic, we must draw lessons to prepare ourselves better for the next crisis.
One important lesson is to build and uphold supply chain resilience. We saw during the pandemic, how countries scrambled to ensure adequate supply of critical items, including vaccines, amid manufacturing, trade and logistics disruptions.
Another lesson is the importance of trust and collaboration. The reality of a global crisis like COVID-19 is that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Thus, even as governments sought to safeguard the well-being of their citizens, cooperation was critical in bringing the pandemic to an end.
With these lessons, as well as the advent of new technologies like AI, we must aim to be swifter and more agile in developing and rolling out new therapeutics and vaccines.
In this context, Thermo Fisher’s Fill-Finish Facility is significant because it will enable end-to-end manufacturing of vaccines and biologics in Singapore, contributing to the region’s resilience.
In the pharmaceutical process, fill-finish is the critical step in manufacturing the final vaccines and drugs to be ready for consumer use.
This new facility will complement the recent investments by Sanofi and BioNTech, by closing the loop on vaccine production locally.
This will benefit not only Singapore but the wider Asia-Pacific region when tackling future health crises.
As you would recall, even at the height of the pandemic, Singapore kept trade flowing and facilitated the smooth movement of critical items such as vaccines and test-kits.
We will continue to play a positive role in ensuring global supply chain resilience and the well-being of people around the world.
Our longstanding partnership with Thermo Fisher reflects Singapore’s commitment to developing a strong life science ecosystem.
Besides steadily growing our research capabilities over the past two decades, we have nurtured strong partnerships across universities, companies and the Government to grow Singapore’s manufacturing capabilities in biologics.
This ecosystem approach enables us to attract the brightest minds and the best companies to build best-in-class manufacturing capabilities and accelerate scientific breakthroughs in Singapore.
For example, A*STAR and EDB last year initiated the Biologics Pharma Innovation Programme Singapore (BioPIPS) to bring together industry leaders and our research talent to explore novel manufacturing technologies and enhance manufacturing productivity.
This commitment to innovation and collaboration is crucial to sustaining our vibrant life science ecosystem, and more importantly, enabling scientific breakthroughs for a healthier, safer future for all.
My heartiest congratulations to Thermo Fisher on the opening of this Fill-Finish Facility as well as your expansion in Singapore!
I look forward to an even stronger partnership and wish you every success. Thank you.
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