A*STAR, One BioMed Launch S$9m Joint Lab To Make Diagnostic Kit For Infectious Diseases
SINGAPORE - A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and One BioMed, an A*STAR spin-off, launched a S$9 million joint lab on Thursday (29 November). The aim is to launch within the next five years, a point-of-care diagnostic kit that can test for up to 20 types of infectious diseases simultaneously in just 20 minutes.
Today, the spread of disease is accelerated by a lack of access to accurate data in real time. Early infectious disease detection using molecular diagnostics has held the promise of accuracy, but until now has been limited in both speed and cost. One BioMed is developing a portable point-of-care diagnostic system, where doctors and patients will no longer have to wait for days for samples to be sent to a central laboratory for tests. Furthermore, the team has reduced costs substantially such that they are comparable to that of the conventional central laboratory approach, making it an affordable option for both clinics and hospitals, where clinicians are demanding ready access to diagnose their patients.
Located in one-north, the new 1,500-square-foot dedicated joint-lab facility, to be fully operational by March 2019, will see pilot production of the automated diagnostic kit, using IME's lab-on-a-chip technology and One BioMed's silicon biophotonics and solid-phase nucleic acid purification platform technologies, originally developed at IME.
IME's lab-on-a-chip technology compresses multiple steps in testing - that traditionally had to be conducted using a range of laboratory equipment - into a single step process, housed within a chip or cartridge that is smaller than a smartphone. One BioMed combined capabilities across the three diverse disciplines of semiconductor silicon photonics, chemistry and biology to give the kit both the sensitivity needed for accurate detection and speed.
The new joint lab is One BioMed's second with A*STAR. The first was launched in January 2017 in collaboration with A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) to develop molecular diagnostic assays for the Asian clinical infectious disease testing market.
Since it was established, One BioMed has secured S$1.75 million in funding, in addition to the S$7.5 million invested in the technology development, and has continued to work closely with A*STAR on its path towards commercialisation.
“Innovation is a must in an age where businesses are being disrupted and redefined. IME's joint lab initiative with One BioMed is an example of how A*STAR helps nurture innovative local enterprises to drive economic growth. We are delighted to take one step forward to improve medical diagnostics in healthcare.” said Prof Dim-Lee Kwong, Covering Executive Director, IME.
“As we complete the development of our first product, One BioMed's needs are shifting to commercialisation. IME is an ideal launchpad for that effort with their expertise, depth of talent and available resources. We are grateful for A*STAR's continued commitment to fostering an ecosystem for not only early stage R&D, but also advanced stage product development.” said Dr Mi Kyoung Park, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, One BioMed.