Applied Health Sciences Meet Business Events

8th February 2023

A melting pot of cultures, Singapore is considered one of Asia’s top destinations. Its diverse background, use of advanced technology and commitment to progress have led the small city-state to reach high levels of knowledge and expertise. Economic sectors like Applied Health Sciences, Innovation & Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Urban Solutions among others offer opportunities to business events organizers for partnerships and insights and added value for conference attendees.

Words Vicky Koffa

Singapore can definitely boast about being a major hub in Asia for the applied health sciences industry. Over the years its reputation has been growing steadily in the Biomedical, Healthcare and MedTech sector. A combination of quality manufacturing capabilities, pro-business environment, as well as dedication to innovation and research have given the country the edge to quickly transform medical breakthroughs into viable patient solutions.

Progress in Healthcare

Enjoying one of the world’s most efficient healthcare systems, patients in Singapore (and about half a million overseas patients yearly) benefit from accessibility and proximity to the latest medical technologies and drug developments. In fact, the country ranked first in 2020 in Bloomberg’s Health-Efficiency Index, which tracks life expectancy and medical spending in 57 economies around the world.

Springing from investment and collaboration between academics, government and private entities, Singapore now features a few major healthcare achievements. Examples include the creation of the Experimental Drug Development Centre – a national platform for discovery and development of therapeutics and diagnostics that save and improve the lives of patients, and the Target Translation Consortium, which coordinates early-stage drug discovery efforts across academia, healthcare institutions and government agencies.

Singapore’s ageing population has shifted the focus towards remote medical monitoring devices, assistive devices, and virtual healthcare services. Researchers need to relieve the pressure on the hospitals, which has served as motivation for advancements in preventive and rehabilitative healthcare. Moreover, the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) project, launched a decade ago, means that each citizen will have his or her own electronic medical record.

Businesses Are Drawn to Singapore

This innovative, collaborative and holistic approach towards medicine and healthcare has attracted many of the largest pharma firms in the world to set up their regional headquarters in Singapore. In spite of its relatively small size, eight of the top ten pharmaceutical firms such as Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are located in the area featuring some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing facilities as well as Research & Development Centres. Singapore saw a 24% growth in biomedical manufacturing industry in 2020.

It comes as no surprise that Singapore is a regional leader in MedTech, since the country’s goal is to become a smart nation over the next years. It is home to more than 60 multinational MedTech firms, including Becton Dickinson, GE Healthcare and Thermo Fisher Scientific, creating a solid ecosystem with highly-skilled professionals, which amounts to 10% of Asia’s MedTech market. Solutions for diagnostic imaging departments, a high-speed sterile line for live virus filling and a service hub for portable healthcare equipment repairs portray some of the innovative work being done there.

In such a thriving ecosystem of science and collaboration it is inevitable that the start-up scene would follow suit. Firms such as Structo which specialises in dental equipment solutions using 3D printing, and Hello Health Group which provides consumer health information to 35 million users across the region are bright examples of the government’s investment in start-ups.

A Valuable Asset for Business Events 

Associations could not miss the opportunity to create value for their conference attendees. Like-minded conferences benefit from Singapore’s innovative Healthcare sector by forging meaningful partnerships and collaborations between key opinion leaders, institutes, firms, start-ups and research organisations.

A recent example was the 14th World Stroke Congress, which took place at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre from 26 to 29 October 2022. Held in Southeast Asia for the first time, the event was attended by more than 4,400 visiting and virtual delegates from 107 countries. The conference gave a chance to experts to discuss the betterment of stroke care, whereas the exhibition held at the same time showcased the latest innovations in medical technology. 

In commemoration of World Stroke Day on 29 October, the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) organized the Stepping Out For Stroke day. Over 800 healthcare professionals, members of the public, 180 volunteers and 100 stroke survivors and their families gathered to raise awareness for stroke and funds to support stroke survivors and their caregivers.

The 7th World One Health Congress was held from 7 to 11 November 2022 at Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Expo and Convention Centre. More than 1,400 in-person and 1,000 virtual delegates from academic institutions, civil society, government bodies, private sector, and multilateral organizations from around the world came together to improve health and well-being worldwide. Their main focus was the global One Health movement which seeks solutions to prevent and mitigate crises that originate at the animal-human-environment interface. The program of the event was full of important keynotes, panel discussions, novel research presentations, and insightful debates, highlighting important collaboration opportunities between sectors.

Singapore has now created a strong name for itself in the Applied Health Sciences industry, offering unique knowledge and collaboration opportunities and added value to association conferences.

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