The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: May 19, 2010
Fujitsu establishes its first bio-medical research laboratory in Singapore
(Nanowerk News) Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd. and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) jointly announced the official opening of a new research facility in Singapore, Fujitsu Laboratories & R&D Division of Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd. (hereafter, “Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore”).As Fujitsu’sfirst bio-medical focused research facility in the South East Asia region, the laboratory is part of a comprehensive ecosystem which partners universities and research institutes with industry-relevant capabilities that will further strengthen Singapore’s status as Asia’s research and development (R&D) hub. Fujitsu will be working with A*STAR on the development of aptamer technology (a nucleic acid macromolecule that binds tightly to a specific molecular target) for diagnostics application and business development trials.
Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore will support a number of key research initiatives, working in collaboration with A*STAR, Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), National University of Singapore (NUS), National University Hospital (NUH) and the Cancer Science Institute (CSI) to explore improvements in diagnostics of diseases such as prostate and gastric cancer, cardiovascular diseases and dengue through the development of aptamers.
Currently, antibodies are used in diagnostics of diseases. The use of aptamers versus antibodies ensures higher consistency, stability and overall quality, resulting in a more efficient and cost effective diagnostic process. Using aptamers for diagnostics will see individuals benefiting from more effective and cheaper diagnosis of diseases, resulting in earlier detection and treatment. This will ultimately translate into higher cure rates and a better quality of life. Governments globally will also benefit as this will mean lower healthcare costs. In addition, Fujitsu’s proprietary methodology for aptamer development enables optimisation in the development process benefitting the pharmaceutical, healthcare and biomedical industry.
“One of the missions of Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore is to conduct strategic research that addresses important biomedical problems, through our novel technology methodology that presents major commercial potential. This is closely aligned with Fujitsu Laboratories’ greater vision of creating a “human-centric networked society”. The launch of Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore and our collaboration with A*STAR symbolises our commitment to contribute to the Asia region by improving human life through innovative technologies,” said Kazuo Murano, Chairman, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited
“Our partnership with A*STAR is further testament of our goal of advancing open innovation, which encourages information exchange across institutions and geographies free of barriers. By encouraging open information exchange between universities, government and research institutes globally, we hope to increase collaborations resulting in R&D that will drive new innovations in Information Communication Technology,” Dr. Murano added.
“The opening of the Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore reaffirms Fujitsu Asia’s broader goal of bringing the best technologies from around the world to Singapore. Fujitsu is the first Information Communications Technology company to provide innovative methodology for aptamer development. Fujitsu’s collaboration with A*STAR represents our commitment to being part of an ecosystem that will enable Singapore to harness innovations in technology, with the aim of developing a world-class R&D hub for diagnostic aptamer research,” said Francis Goh, President, Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd.
Through R&D in electronics, Fujitsu Laboratories started research in nanotechnology in 2000, with one of the focus areas being nano-biotechnology. The world-unique methodology in modified DNA aptamer applied in Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore is a result of 10 years of R&D in nano-biotechnology. The opening of this new lab facility and collaboration with A*STAR reaffirms the company’s commitment to enhancing human life through the application of technology.
“Fujitsu and Singapore have enjoyed more than three decades of strategic partnership. With the inauguration of Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore at Biopolis, Fujitsu has taken the bold step of expanding its full value chain of activities in Singapore into upstream R&D. Fujitsu’s decision underscores Singapore’s attractiveness as an R&D and innovation hub, and our standing as the Biopolis of Asia. Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore’s collaborations with ETC, NUS, NUH and CSI also demonstrate the success of our strategy in offering a comprehensive, integrated biomedical sciences ecosystem that companies find appealing. Singapore and A*STAR look forward to many more years of successful strategic partnerships with Fujitsu,” said Mr Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR Chairman and the Guest of Honour at the opening of Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore.
Aptamer came to be known recently as an alternative to antibodies. It is manufactured chemically, not biologically, thus ensuring higher consistency and overall quality. However, because aptamers used up to now are made from RNA having unstable nature, they are used in only limited areas. Fujitsu established a novel aptamer development system using stable DNA instead of RNA. One unique characteristic of this aptamer system is its high potential to enable a variety of chemical interactions. This makes Fujitsu's aptamer technology a powerful tool to develop alternatives to using antibodies. By employing Fujitsu's aptamer technology, establishment and optimisation processes of diagnostics development become more efficient. Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore will work closely with customers, partners and academia to generate advancements that will drive research in the area of diagnostics.
Fujitsu aims to be the Asia centre for R&D research across various disciplines, bringing together research expertise and know-how from Fujitsu Laboratories sites located in other countries.
By fostering a collaborative community, Fujitsu will be exploring ways to encourage the sharing of knowledge and best practices. Fujitsu Laboratories' aim is to create commercial value for R&D of our customers, partners and academia, as leverage to develop better tools and products with the goal of enhancing human life.
A*STAR and Fujitsu have enjoyed close collaborations on R&D in the physical sciences with the most recent announcement on a partnership to develop petascale computing. The expansion of the strategic partnership into biomedical sciences will allow Fujitsu to continually value-add to the nation through its strength in developing innovative technology solutions. Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore is located in Biopolis, a hub dedicated to biomedical R&D activities and has an environment that fosters a collaborative culture among the private and public research community.
Fujitsu Laboratories Singapore joins a growing community of companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Roche, Abbott and Hill-Rom that are engaged in biomedical R&D in Singapore. To date, 4,300 researchers carry out biomedical sciences R&D in Singapore that includes drug discovery, translational and clinical research in more than 50 companies and other public-sector institutes. In 2009, the output for biomedical manufacturing grew steadily to about S$21 billion and the sector employed more than 13,000 people.
About Fujitsu Laboratories
Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials.
About Fujitsu Asia
Fujitsu Asia was established in Singapore in 1997 to provide leadership in business development, technology innovation and customer support as regional headquarters for the Fujitsu group of companies in ASEAN. Building on Fujitsu’s three decades of experience in the ASEAN region and with a pool of highly skilled engineering talent, Fujitsu Asia is dedicated to providing comprehensive integrated IT-based business solutions that deliver tangible business value and enable customers to meet the challenges of the new global economy. Fujitsu Asia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujitsu Limited, a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. For details, please visit: http://sg.fujitsu.com.
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and seven consortia & centre, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity.
A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.