New IBN Eye Laboratory and NUH Eye Centre to by alq49994

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									                                     MEDIA RELEASE

    New IBN Eye Laboratory and NUH Eye Centre to Open in Biopolis
S$5 million ocular lab and new clinical research facility to test cutting-edge
                  materials for treatment of eye diseases

Singapore, November 3, 2009 – Marking a significant bench to bedside research
milestone in Singapore, the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), the
world’s first bioengineering and nanotechnology research institute, and the National
University Hospital (NUH) are pleased to launch IBN iCare and the NUH Eye Centre @
Biopolis at an official opening ceremony officiated by the Senior Minister of State for
Trade and Industry and Education, Mr S. Iswaran, at the Biopolis today.

Collaborations between researchers and clinicians are critical to speed up the translation
of basic scientific discoveries into clinical applications, and develop new medical
products and treatments. IBN iCare is the first research laboratory in Singapore to focus
on the development of cutting-edge nanomaterials for ocular therapy. The NUH Eye
Centre @ Biopolis will provide a clinical research environment that facilitates the
development of new materials and techniques for ophthalmology practice. IBN’s
nanostructured ocular materials will undergo clinical trials at the NUH Eye Centre prior to
commercial applications.

Since 2003, IBN has been revolutionizing medical treatment with sophisticated
biomaterials and systems for delivering therapeutics to diseased cells and organs. This
key research thrust at IBN has led to the synthesis of a novel drug-loaded contact lens
that can deliver medication more effectively than eye drops for the treatment of eye
diseases such as glaucoma. The latest ocular research invention created by IBN is the
world’s first photochromic contact lens that will darken upon exposure to sunlight to
protect the eyes against harmful ultraviolet radiation and glare. The lenses will
conveniently adapt to changes in light and provide optimal indoor and outdoor vision.

“IBN's mission is to conduct strategic research that addresses important biomedical
problems through novel technology platforms that present major commercial potential.
The launch of IBN iCare and our collaboration with NUH symbolize our commitment
towards establishing Singapore as an international, world class biomedical hub. By
bridging the gap from bench to bedside, we are well positioned to facilitate the
commercialization of our research innovations,” said Professor Jackie Y. Ying, IBN
Founding Executive Director.

Recognizing the commercial potential of IBN’s ocular biomaterials, Exploit Technologies
Pte Ltd (ETPL), the strategic marketing and commercialization arm of the Agency for
Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), provided a S$5 million Flagship Fund to
set up IBN iCare. IBN iCare will accelerate the translation of strategic research in vision
care to viable medical products and treatments. Its mission is to incubate start-up
companies in vision care, and attract more global partners to Singapore to create a
major commercial impact on myopia and vision impairment treatment.

Mr Boon Swan Foo, Executive Chairman of Exploit Technologies, said, “Exploit
Technologies is pleased to have partnered IBN and NUH in building this tripartite
commercialisation effort. The bringing together of clinicians with scientists and
commercial people to this juncture is due to the unrelenting effort of the key players,
including Dr Muhammad Tani, Prof Jackie Ying and A/P Paul Chew who have worked
hard to overcome obstacles along the way. Our team started to work on the project since
2005; it was a time when the market was not ready for adoption of the drug eluting
nanoporous contact lens technology. We ploughed the market, evolved our marketing
strategies, and essentially created a market when there was none. Through our efforts,
the technology was licensed to a MNC in 2006, with a contract value of more than
S$100 million. To further exploit the technology’s commercial potential, we held
discussions with clinicians and industry players to find out other potential applications;
and the idea of the NUH Eye Centre was born in 2007. To ensure the success of this
meaningful project, Exploit Technologies launched a Flagship project, coupled with an
S$5 million funding, to help set up IBN iCare and NUH Eye Centre @ Biopolis.

“Today, we see the fruits of our labour. I am delighted that big players like SAF and Carl
Zeiss are partnering us in the effort to take R&D from the lab to market. Additionally, two
Singapore-based companies have already expressed interest to license IBN’s
photochromic contact lens. I am encouraged that diverse teams with proper leadership
and good technologies can lead to a successful start of a great future ahead.”

In addition to research, the NUH Eye Centre @ Biopolis will also provide a wide range of
eye care services, LASIK and refractive surgery for patients. The patient-centric centre is
designed with the patient’s interest and safety in mind. For example, to improve the
patient’s experience, the configuration of the centre optimises the patient flow by guiding
them through the various eye-check stations. The LASIK operating suite also complies
with stringent guidelines to enhance patients' safety. Another interesting feature is the
see-through glass that allows the patients' family members to observe the LASIK
procedure. Innovative treatment of vision correction using IBN's biomaterials will also be
widely offered through the NUH Eye Centre @ Biopolis.

Mr Joe Sim, NUH Chief Executive Officer said, “Having one of our eye facilities located
in the Biopolis means we are right within the research hub. This will facilitate greater
opportunities for research collaboration which is aligned with our focus as an academic
medical centre. Our partnership with IBN will allow us to work closely with researchers
on projects that will potentially translate to better care to benefit our patients and
Singaporeans.”

The close proximity of the eye clinic to IBN iCare at the Biopolis will strengthen the
partnership between NUHS ophthalmologists and IBN researchers to better meet the
healthcare needs of the patients. Besides eye care, IBN scientists can also work closely
with clinicians at NUH to advance collaborations in IBN’s four research areas: Drug and
Gene Delivery, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Biosensors and Biodevices,
Pharmaceuticals Synthesis and Nanobiotechnology.
The initiative by IBN iCare and NUH Eye Centre @ Biopolis will also expedite the route
to commercialization by bridging the gap from bench to industry. IBN is working with Carl
Zeiss, a global leader in the optical industries, on the development of technologies and
treatments associated with IBN’s innovative ocular biomaterials. The Singapore Armed
Forces (SAF) Medical Corps is also partnering with IBN and NUH in research and
training for vision correction technology to address the problems of myopia and ocular
trauma in SAF operations.

Please refer to the annexes for more information on IBN iCare and NUH Eye Centre @
Bioplis.

Images Available on Request:




IBN’s drug-loaded contact lenses and advanced nanostructured materials are set to dramatically
improve on ophthalmology treatment for eye conditions such as glaucoma, eye infections and dry
eyes.




IBN iCare will incubate spin-off companies to produce and market vision care products worldwide
with the latest IBN nanotechnology advances.




IBN’s latest innovation is photochromic contact lenses that darken on exposure to sunlight and
protect wearers’ eyesight from ultraviolet radiation.
For media queries and interview requests, please contact:

Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
Elena Tan
Phone : 65 6824 7032
Email : elenatan@ibn.a-star.edu.sg

Laura Lau
Phone: 65 6824 7040
Email: sslau@ibn.a-star.edu.sg

National University Hospital
Lisa Ang
Phone: 65 6772 5117
Email: lisa_ang@nuhs.edu.sg

Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd
Seeto Wei Peng
Phone: 65 6478 8443
Email: weipeng@exploit-tech.com
ANNEX A: IBN iCARE
Since its inception in 2003, IBN has been revolutionizing medical treatment with
sophisticated biomaterials and systems for delivering therapeutics to diseased cells and
organs. IBN iCare is the first research lab in Singapore to focus on the development of
novel nanomaterials for ocular therapy. The research thrusts include developing
advanced ophthalmic biomaterials and implants for treatments of eye diseases such as
cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal disorders; pioneering new approaches to eye surgery
and cornea wound healing; and developing new applications for the treatment of vision
defects. Some of the exciting laboratory discoveries by IBN scientists over the years
include:
§     Drug-Loaded Contact Lens for Ocular Drug Delivery
      This invention addresses the shortcomings of commercially available ophthalmic
      drug delivery systems and aims to provide a safe and easy ocular therapy. IBN
      scientists invented a technique to fabricate nanostructured contact lenses for
      controlled and sustained delivery of medication to the eyes. The rate of release of
      drugs embedded within the lens matrix can be regulated by varying the width and
      volume fraction of the nanochannels in the novel contact lens material. These
      patented lenses deliver medication more effectively than eye drops when treating
      eye disorders such as glaucoma and dry eyes.
§     Photochromic Contact Lens for Vision Protection
      Long-term, unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to age-related
      macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye conditions that can compromise the
      quality of our vision. IBN scientists have developed the first photochromic contact
      lenses in the world that can protect the eyes against ultraviolet radiation and glare.
      The lenses will darken on exposure to sunlight to shield the eyes against harmful
      ultraviolet rays and glare without compromising vision and comfort. The lenses will
      conveniently adapt to the changes in light and provide optimal indoor and outdoor
      vision.
Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), the strategic marketing and commercialisation arm
of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), has extensively
marketed IBN’s novel drug loaded contact lens since 2006. Based on positive interest
from local and overseas industrial players and clinicians, ETPL has funded IBN iCare in
a new S$5 million Flagship Program. IBN iCare will accelerate the translation of strategic
research in vision care to new medical products and treatments. It will advance bench-
to-bedside research through partnership with clinicians at the NUH Eye Centre @
Biopolis.
IBN iCare is poised to create a major commercial impact to millions of people in the
world suffering from vision impairment and myopia. 314 million people are visually
impaired globally.1 Singapore has one of the highest prevalence rates of myopia in the
world. IBN iCare will incubate biomedical start-up companies in vision care and attract
more global partners to Singapore to deliver advanced ocular applications and
treatments worldwide.
IBN iCare is led by IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying and IBN Team
Leader and Senior Research Scientist, Dr Edwin Chow.
1
    Source: World Health Organization website.
ANNEX B: NUH EYE CENTRE @ BIOPOLIS
To fulfill the tri-partite mission of NUHS, the Department of Ophthalmology has
developed a joint research venture with the Institute of Bioengineering and
Nanotechnology (IBN) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
to establish the NUH Eye Centre @ Biopolis. This will pave the way for strategic plans to
create an optimistic research environment for its clinician-scientists, as well as to make
provisions for advanced ophthalmology techniques imperative for its clinical services.
The close proximity of the satellite eye ambulatory clinic at the Biopolis will provide
opportunity for interactions between the NUHS ophthalmologists and IBN researchers to
shape medicine for the future.
This project also provides a platform which, together with the culminated experience of
both parties, shall serve to attract more international collaborations in the long-term
research perspective, thereby meeting and developing new solutions to the healthcare
needs of patients.
We are also pleased to announce that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical
Corps, though a memorandum of understanding with NUHS, will be a partner in
research and training in vision correction technology to address the problems of myopia
and ocular trauma in SAF operations.
About the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) was established in 2003 as a
national research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research,
Singapore, by Executive Director, Professor Jackie Yi-Ru Ying. Prof. Ying was a
Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992–
2005). In 2008, Professor Ying was recognized as one of "One Hundred Engineers of
the Modern Era" by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for her groundbreaking
work on nanostructured systems, nanoporous materials and host matrices for quantum
dots and wires. Under her direction, IBN conducts research at the cutting-edge of
bioengineering and nanotechnology. IBN’s research programs are geared towards
linking multiple disciplines across engineering, science and medicine to produce
research breakthroughs that will improve healthcare and our quality of life.

IBN's research activities are focused in the following areas:

   •   Drug and Gene Delivery, where the controlled release of therapeutics involve
       the use of functionalized polymers, hydrogels and biologics for targeting
       diseased cells and organs, and for responding to specific biological stimuli.
   •   Cell and Tissue Engineering, where biomimicking materials, stem cell
       technology, microfluidic systems and bioimaging tools are combined to develop
       novel approaches to regenerative medicine and artificial organs.
   •   Biosensors and Biodevices, which involve nanotechnology and microfabricated
       platforms for high-throughput biomarkers screening, automated biologics
       synthesis, and rapid disease diagnosis.
   •   Pharmaceuticals Synthesis and Nanobiotechnology, which encompasses the
       efficient catalytic synthesis of chiral pharmaceuticals, and new nanocomposite
       materials for sustainable technology and alternative energy generation.

IBN's innovative research is aimed at creating new knowledge and intellectual properties
in the emerging fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology to attract top-notch
researchers and business partners to Singapore. Since 2003, IBN researchers have
published over 500 papers in leading journals. IBN also plays an active role in
technology transfer and spinning off companies, linking the research institute and
industrial partners to other global institutions. The Institute has filed over 750 patent
applications on its inventions and is currently looking for partners for collaboration and
commercialization of its portfolio of technologies. IBN's current staff strength stands at ~
200 scientists, engineers and medical doctors. With its multinational and multidisciplinary
research staff, the institute is geared towards generating new biomaterials, devices,
systems, equipment and processes to boost Singapore’s economy in the fast-growing
biomedical sector.

IBN is also committed to nurturing young minds, and the institute acts as a training
ground for PhD students and undergraduates. In October 2003, IBN initiated a Youth
Research Program to open its doors to university students, as well as students and
teachers from various secondary schools and junior colleges. It has since reached out to
more than 33,700 students and teachers from 210 local and overseas schools and
institutions.

For more information, please log on to www.ibn.a-star.edu.sg
About National University Hospital

The National University Hospital (NUH), a member of the National University Health
System (NUHS), is a tertiary specialist hospital that provides advanced, leading-edge
medical care and services. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities as well as dedicated
and well-trained staff, the NUH is a major referral centre that delivers tertiary care for a
wide range of medical and dental specialties including Cardiology, Gastroenterology &
Hepatology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics and
Orthopaedic Surgery. It is the principal teaching hospital of the NUS Yong Loo Lin
School of Medicine.

With combined resources from the teaching hospital and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of
Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry, the NUH will be able to meet the healthcare needs of
patients, train future generations of doctors more effectively, and help develop solutions
to our healthcare problems through research.

Backed by substantive expertise and experience, the NUH was chosen by the Ministry of
Health to develop two new national specialist centres, the National University Heart
Centre, Singapore and National University Cancer Institute, Singapore to meet the
growing need for cardiac and cancer treatments.

In 2004, the NUH became the first Singapore hospital to receive Joint Commission
International (JCI) Accreditation, an international stamp for excellent clinical practices in
patient care and safety. It was also the first hospital in Singapore to receive a triple ISO
certification concurrently for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety
Management Systems in 2002.

For more information, please visit www.nuh.com.sg

About Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd

Exploit Technologies is the strategic marketing and comercialisation arm of the Agency
for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its mission is to support A*STAR in
transforming the economy through commercialising R&D. Exploit Technologies
enhances the research output of A*STAR scientists by translating their inventions into
marketable products or processes. Through licensing deals and spinoffs with industry
partners, Exploit Technologies is a key driver of technology transfer in Singapore. It
actively engages industry leaders and players to commercialise A*STAR's technologies
and capabilities, bridging the gap from Mind to Market. Exploit Technologies’ charter is
to identify, protect and exploit promising intellectual property (IP) created by A*STAR’s
research institutes.
Technologies are incubated through the Commercialisation of Technology (COT)
funding program, where Exploit Technologies invests upfront and takes development
risks of up to S$1m per project. COT is an internal gap funding mechanism for A*STAR’s
research institutes to carry out technology development and refinement based on their
inventions and proof-of-concept prototypes over a period of 3 to 12 months. Through the
COT program, Exploit Technologies creates a pool of market-ready technologies for
commercial applications.
In technology Incubation, the teams at Exploit Technologies invest their efforts in the
following activities:
     § Technology Intelligence: conduct due diligence and identify technical
        specifications required by industry; and
     § Engineering Development: review production processes, yield improvement, bill
        of materials and system integration and all related engineering issues.

In business incubation, Exploit Technologies collaborates with A*STAR’s research
institutes, where the teams identify new technology areas early in the research value
chain to develop application driven, multi-disciplinary Flagship Projects and drive these
with commercialisation in mind. Some of the Flagship projects have the potential to grow
new industrial sectors.

In business incubation, Exploit Technologies engages in:
    § Competitive intelligence: analyse the competition landscape, financial
       performance of competitors and benchmarking;
    § Product Roadmap and Development: target market segment, product
       specifications, product testing and roll out plan;
    § Marketing Strategy: market development including industry forum, identify
       potential customers for collaboration or evaluation; and
    § Business Strategies and Financial Modeling: prepare business plan, financial
       analysis and value proposition.

Exploit Technologies is now managing a portfolio of close to 3,000 active patents, has
granted more than 250 licences for A*STAR's technologies, and created a portfolio of
two dozen spin-off companies. Estimated business revenue to be generated by
licensees from sales of products and provision of services using or incorporating
A*STAR's technologies is projected to be over S$500M. And the total market value, both
realised and unrealised, created through A*STAR startups amounts to at least S$100
million.

For more information, please visit www.exploit-tech.com.

								
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