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Licensee Stories

There are 3 key headings where the stories are listed:

Getting a Headstart

(1) Local SME, Hyphens Pharma’s Headstart license for ICES’s technologies enabled the company to produce its first “self-manufactured” product

Local SME Hyphens Pharma Pte Ltd, a Singapore-headquartered ASEAN specialty pharma company, has took on A*STAR’s Headstart programme and signed commercial licenses for ICES’ steroidal topical cream formulation and sugar-based micro-emulsion technology.

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On completion of its Research Collaboration with ICES under the Headstart programme, which resulted in a stable cream formulation and production process, ETPL worked with Hyphens Pharma on the capability and suitability of its manufacturing factory to ensure the necessary equipment and practices were in place for successful manufacturing. As part of the Headstart programme for local SMEs, Hyphens Pharma enjoys a 36-month exclusive, royalty-free license to manufacture and sell ICES’ steroidal topical cream formulation. ICES’ formulation will be used as Hyphens Pharma’s first “self-manufactured” product, which it will sell through its established regional distribution channels.

Hyphens Pharma also inked an MoU with A*STAR to be strategic dialogue partners in the field of dermatology. It is envisioned that this MoU will enable Hyphens to develop innovative and differentiated dermatological products to address unmet market needs.

Headstart, a programme introduced in 2015, provides SMEs with 18 months’ royalty-free, exclusive licenses to IP arising from their research collaborations with A*STAR. The feedback from the SME Committee (SMEC) led by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) was that although this is a good initiative, SMEs might need more time to translate R&D outcomes into market-ready products and services. In response, in April 2017 at A*STAR’s SME, it was announced that A*STAR will be doubling the royalty-free and exclusive licensing period to 36 months.

(2) Local SME, FXMedia Internet Pte Ltd, took on A*STAR Headstart license that leverages I2R’s virtual reality technology to provide realistic, scenario‐based training for airline staff

FXMedia Internet Pte Ltd (“FXMedia”) has taken an exclusive licence under A*STAR’s Headstart programme upon completion of an RCA with I2R to develop a virtual reality (VR) training system that incorporates the institute’s technology for creation and control of interaction flow in training scenarios.

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With additional support from SPRING’s PACT (Partnerships for Capability Transformation) grant scheme and SIA as the POC partner for test‐bedding, the trial solution was developed to train the ground crew on procedures and scenarios relating to aircraft loading and unloading, re‐fuelling and more. The licensed technology enables the creation of an immersive, computer‐simulated, 3D environment to provide realistic, scenario‐based training for individuals and teams. Such environment will allow professionals to be trained in a virtual setting without the need to replicate the physical environment and which are often cost‐prohibitive.

Capitalising on its core expertise in providing 3D modelling and animation services, FXMedia further intends to use the licensed technology to broaden its offerings and tap on the emerging market for VR training solutions, with the initial target of developing such training solutions for the airline, retail, food and beverages and hospitality industries.

Headstart, a programme introduced in 2015, provides SMEs with 18 months’ royalty-free, exclusive licenses to IP arising from their research collaborations with A*STAR. The feedback from the SME Committee (SMEC) led by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) was that although this is a good initiative, SMEs might need more time to translate R&D outcomes into market-ready products and services. In response, in April 2017 at A*STAR’s SME, it was announced that A*STAR will be doubling the royalty-free and exclusive licensing period to 36 months.

Product co-development And New Capabilities for business growth

(1) Licensed software helps local SME improve product

Local SME JN Medsys Pte Ltd, set up in 2010, specialises in life science genetic analysis and diagnostic instrumentation. Upon encountering “noisy” images from samples processed using its proprietary digital PCR system, ClarityTM, the company licensed SIMTech’s DNA sample plate well image processing software in June 2015 to improve the imaging quality of its PCR system, thereby allowing sample analysis to be automated. The software also significantly improves the reliability of the system’s analysis capabilities.

johnsonng.jpg JN Medsys Chief Executive Johnson Ng. Photo Credits: BrandInsider ST

JN Medsys, which is the only company in Asia which can provide this service, will pave the way for more accurate, simpler and more cost-effective testing for cancer. There are about only 5 types of digital PCR products made available globally. The improved analysis capabilities and lower cost will provide the company a distinct advantage in the market.

The company expects sales of more than $25M over the next 10 years with its upgraded capability. It also intends to market the system into Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

(2) Innovating to serve the medical sector

Local SME Inzign, a tool-making company that progressed to design plastic injection moulds some 35 years ago, did not stop innovating its business since. From serving multiple industries to making the bold decision to concentrate on the medical industry, it also took on the name Inzign, meaning innovation and design, in 2001.

Inzign partnered Singapore’s leading manufacturing technology research institute (SIMTech) in 2014 to serve the fast growing lab-on-chip / microfluidic industry. This partnership has allowed the company to expand their design and development capabilities with the newest technologies developed by SIMTech.

chewsengkim.png Mr Steven Lau, director of product development of Inzign. Photo Credits: Chew Seng Kim (ST 22/7/17)

Inzign saw huge potential in microfluidics devices as next-generation diagnostics products. It subsequently signed a technology licensing deal with ETPL to produce these devices. SIMTech helped with readying the devices for large-scale manufacturing, while the company brought in the machinery and set up the production line, which they invested more than $2 million. Inzign is already see good progress with its production and expects to see returns from this investments very soon.

Innovative and Vibrant Startups

(1) First Publicly-Listed A*STAR startup

Biotech firm InvitroCue became A*STAR’s first publicly-listed spinoff in Jan 2016, just four years after its birth. The spinoff licensed A*STAR’s technologies to help drug-makers determine which vaccines, products or devices are safe to use in humans, using a humanised liver model and digital pathology. The technology incubated by ETPL had enabled the team to work with global pharmas, and led to InvitroCue signing contracts with these big pharmas, such as Novartis (published in BT 29/1/16), in its early days.

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According to InvitroCue founder Dr Steven Fang, the spinoff didn’t have to bear a huge R&D burden because a lot of the technology was already incubated within A*STAR under the gap funding project. Another key benefit of the technology incubation was that it enabled the research team to start working with global pharmas even before InvitroCue spun off, and led to InvitroCue signing contracts with these big pharmas. (published in ST 3/2/16)

Following its listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, InvitroCue has expanded to China by setting up a laboratory in Suzhou to support global pharmas in the Suzhou Industrial Park and greater Shanghai areas in developing and testing new drugs and cosmetics products.

(2) From Ideation to Product in Market

Juvo Labs Pte Ltd is an A*STAR spinoff created by the Co-Foundry based on vital-signs and sleep monitoring technology. The company had licensed the underlying fibre optic sensor mat technology from I 2 R. The licence was later novated to Juvo Labs Pte Ltd in January 2016.

This project was conceived during ETPL’s iWellness Ideation Programme in 2014, which was subsequently spun out and mentored by external entrepreneurs Tan Toi Ngee and Mah Chern Wern. With their success in Indiegogo crowdfunding, Juvo has been approached by bedding manufacturers in China and New Zealand. The company has also started delivering product committed from its Indiegogo campaign.

mahchernwern.png Juvo Labs founders Tan Toi Ngee (left) and Mah Chern Wern with their sleep and vitals monitor they developed. Photo Credits : ST File Photos (ST 26/4/16)

(3) Keeping cancer in check

Euchloe Bio is a spinoff from SIgN with scientist Dr Wang Cheng-I as the advisor to the company. The spinoff, incorporated in 2016, has licensed SIgN’s therapeutic immune checkpoint target antibodies for cancer treatment and combination therapy.

In 2017, Eucloe has since been acquired by Tessa Therapeutics, an immunotherapy company dedicated to revolutionizing the treatment of cancer.

As reported on Asian Scientist, Euchloe is collaborating with Tessa on the development of next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technologies that are expected to show high specificity and efficacy, for a superior safety profile. The combination of the technologies and research & development capabilities of the two companies is expected to realize strong synergies. [1]

https://www.asianscientist.com/2017/03/pharma/tessa-therapeutics-euchloe-bio-singapore/