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New Models for Financing Translational Medical Research in Singapore: Update

Since 2017, the Milken Institute has engaged with stakeholders worldwide on new models for financing translational biomedical research in Singapore. The Institute convened Financial Innovations Labs® in 2018 and 2019, where participants discussed possible funders and funding models, and directly addressed each other’s concerns. Anonymized findings were synthesized in a report, New Models for Financing Translational Medical Research in Singapore, published in 2020, proposing three Series A−focused funds to tackle the lack of know-how and funding. 

The initial plan for 2020 onwards was for further stakeholder engagement to fine-tune recommendations, derive concrete figures for new financing models, and present a detailed policy paper with broad stakeholder support. However, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore government has since rolled out multiple funding measures and incentives for biomedical research and development (R&D), the effects of which have not fully materialized. In consultation with stakeholders, the Institute ultimately decided that it was best to let newer measures first play out, pivoting its efforts from the specifics of what might be done toward the cultivation of people who may be well-positioned to act.

Since 2020, the Institute has convened six off-the-record private roundtables on biotech financing. Participants included representatives from local biotechs and leading investors and philanthropists from key biotech markets around the world. International participants were curated from the Institute’s networks, thoughtfully built over three decades of high-level convenings. More broadly, the Institute hopes to support the development of Singapore’s biotech ecosystem on multiple fronts, whether through research on financing mechanisms, socialization of investors with innovative financing, or identification of unique opportunities for international exchanges.

This report is a continuation of the publication in 2020, collating the insights from Institute convenings and research over the years.