The economic downturn has created fears that incentives for biotechs will be cut, with tax credits in Maryland, US being threatened earlier this year, but Singapore believes it is in a strong financial position.
in-PharmaTechnologist met at BIO 2009 with Yeoh Keat Chuan, executive director of biomedical sciences for the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), to discuss his efforts to attract biomanufacturing.
These include a SG$4.5bn ($3.1bn) fund that will provide a company with up to SG$300 a month per employee to ensure that staff can be retained through the downturn.
Despite this fund Keat Chuan acknowledged that some people, in particular those employed in the electronics sector, would be laid off but Singapore is making provisions for this.
People from the electronics sector who lose their jobs will be given the opportunity to retrain for biotech using a fund set up by the government.
Continuation of a strategy
Singapore has made significant efforts to attract biotechs to the country, including setting up a contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) to demonstrate its capabilities and paying for 250 people to work at overseas facilities for two years.
In addition to reassure Lonza when it was setting up its first facility in Singapore in 2005 the EDB entered into a joint venture with the CMO to establish the site.
These actions helped the country gain expertise and demonstrated its capabilities to the world. Keat Chuan said that there are now six biotech plants in construction, three of which will be open this year.