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Clinical Trials in Singapore

There are a number of international pharmaceutical companies paying attention to Singapore, due to its research capabilities, clinical trial expertise and firm framework of regulations and laws. There are companies such as Novartis, AstraZeneca, Merck KgaA, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novo Nordisk GSK, MSD, Pfizer, Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering AG, Schering-Plough and Lundbeck,, which have their own clinical trial coordination centers all across Singapore.

Lilly developed the Lilly-NUS Centre for Clinical Pharmacology back in 1997. This center owns a clinical research unit, which frequently conducts various clinical trials with new pharmaceutical agents. This center has been able to develop inde-th pharmacological expertise and experience, due to the fact that it is the first one in the country. It currently fosters cooperation and interaction among all Lilly academic researchers in Singapore.

"From an economic development angle, our aim is to promote pharmaceutical and biotech companies to locate their regional clinical trials management and coordination centres in Singapore. We have had much success on this front because of Singapore's many benefits as a regional HQ location and the availability of experienced clinical trials manpower due to our excellent healthcare sector," has stated Dr Beh Swan Gin, Director Biomedical Sciences Group, EDB. "From a capabilities development angle, our objective is to promote companies to conduct early phase trials such as Phase 1 trials and proof-of-concept trials in Singapore. These are more complex and medically challenging, which play to the strengths of our clinical researchers and doctors."

Of course there is interest coming not only from big pharmaceutical companies when it comes to clinical trials in this location. Back in 2006, during July, the home-grown drug discovery company S*BIO let out an announcement, stating that it has developed a clinical candidate carrying the name SB939, which aims to serve as a novel targeted cancer therapy. The clinical trials commenced in Singapore and North America during the first quarter of 2007.

"With SB939 poised to enter the clinic in Q1 2007, S*BIO has clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver a potential "best-in-class" HDAC inhibitor clinical candidate in less than 12 months. As a company, we are very excited about the success of SB939 and are strongly committed to accelerating its clinical development," stated Dr. Jan-Anders Karlsson, CEO, S*BIO.

There are a lot of clinical research organizations, which are beginning operations in the area, since Singapore is constantly improving on its status as a clinical trial hub. The activities of CROs in the area will include clinical trial management for trials carried out in the areas of Singapore and Asia Pacific, as well as laboratory testing of tissue samples, gathered from sites all over the region. There are many companies like Quintiles, Covance, ICON, MDS Pharma, PPD and home-grown Gleneagles Clinical Research Centre, which now have regional centers in the country. There is a notable growth in projects for all CROs in the last few years.

Back in July 2006, the research council of Singapore stated that it aims to continue investing in R&D in order to drive economic growth. For the next 5 years, there has been $1.4 billion, which will be used for transferring lab research to human clinical trials. Among the new initiatives, it can be observed that the setup of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences will be headed by Prof. Judith Swain, Dean of Translational Medicine of the University of California, San Diego. New technologies and capabilities for therapy studies and diseases are developed by the institute. Clinical research plays a vital role in the biomedical science landscape. There will be more clinical trial opportunities made available as Singapore continues to increase its efforts in biomedical sciences.

Work Programs & Job Opportunities in Singapore

International students have the full right to work 16 hours per week while studying, so that they can support themselves.

Singapore has been deemed as the Asia-Pac regional headquarters for many of the global organizations, and this is why it is a hub for major economic activity. There are over 26,000 international companies in the country, where students can look for great job opportunities in networking and business.

Cultural Exchange

Singapore is easily identified as a multi-ethnic culture. The population in the country consists of 77% Chinese, 14% Malay and 8% Indians. As far as religion is concerned, it is divided into 42% are Buddhists, 15% Muslims, 14% Christians, 9% Taoists and 4% Hindus. The national language is Malay, but the one used for official purposes is English. Because of policy decisions made by Sir Stamford Raffles, Singapore grew to be a trading hub in the 19th century.

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