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UPDATE: Roche to Open Translational Medicine Hub in Singapore

This article has been updated to include additional information and comments from a Roche spokesperson.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today announced that it will collaborate with several research and medical institutes in setting up a new translational research hub in Singapore.

The Hub for Translational Medicine will initially employ around 30 leading scientists and will receive an investment of 100 million Swiss Francs ($95.1 million). Research conducted at the hub will focus on "expanding knowledge of disease biology to develop new personalized treatment approaches," said Roche in a statement.

Roche officials told GenomeWeb Daily News via e-mail that the 100 million Swiss Francs investment will be made over a period of five years and will be split between Roche and the Singapore partners. That investment will come in the form of money and full-time employees, with Roche putting between six and eight full-time employees in Singapore "to leverage the multi-party collaboration," according to a Roche spokesperson.

"The value of the collaboration is to take advantage of world-class co-located capabilities in preclinical, imaging, and clinical and link them together through a common goal to develop strategies for translational medicine," said the Roche spokesperson. "We see this as an opportunity to attempt to take a leadership position in a growth region where we can develop [personalized healthcare] strategies."

Singapore participants in the venture include the Agency for Science, Technology and Research; National University of Singapore; National University Hospital; Nanyang Technological University; National Healthcare Group; and Singapore Health Services.

A joint steering committee consisting of members from Roche and the various institutes will guide the strategic direction of the venture and oversee its research projects.

"Initially, the Singapore Hub for Translational Medicine will focus on oncology, virology, and new imaging techniques, but this scope can be extended in the future," Roche said. The research will focus on early drug development and the development of biomarkers and diagnostics to be used in selecting patients for clinical trials.

"Singapore's research institutions offer outstanding scientific excellence combined with state-of-the-art translational medicine facilities," Jean-Jacques Garaud, global head of Roche Pharma research and early development. "The powerful combination of intellectual and technological capabilities together with outstanding government commitment at the heart of this collaboration will provide a unique opportunity to drive personalized healthcare."

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