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Singapore SMEs Pioneering Healthcare Solutions in China

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As China’s healthcare landscape evolves amidst an ageing population and increased healthcare expenditure, Singaporean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seizing the opportunity to pioneer transformative solutions. With support from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), these companies are harnessing innovative technologies to address the growing demand for healthcare services tailored to age-related ailments and chronic diseases.

Tan Chuan Seng, Director of ASTAR Partners’ Centre (APC), highlights the growing demand for healthcare solutions in China, offering a lucrative market for Singaporean firms specialising in biomedical technology. China’s government’s emphasis on translating research into practical biomed tech solutions further aligns with Singapore’s expertise in this field.

A*STAR Partners’ Centre; Image credits A*STAR’s

Established in Suzhou Industrial Park in November 2020, APC serves as a strategic hub for Singaporean companies seeking to enter the Chinese market. Over the past few years, APC has facilitated the entry of 37 Singaporean companies into China, collectively generating approximately 100 million yuan in revenue since January 2021. These companies have also secured close to 150 intellectual property rights in China, underscoring Singapore’s position as a leader in healthcare innovation.

Vivo Surgical, a Singapore-based medical device manufacturer, is revolutionising colonoscopies with its innovative robotic attachment. This device enhances endoscopists’ precision, enabling the removal of larger polyps without invasive surgery. Leveraging partnerships with A*STAR and Suzhou Industrial Park, Vivo Surgical is in the final stages of R&D and gearing up for clinical trials in Shanghai, marking a pivotal step towards commercialisation.

To fund its R&D and clinical trials, Vivo Surgical recently initiated a Series A funding round, aiming to raise “an eight-figure sum” by the third quarter of this year. Dr. Kevin Koh, founder and CEO of Vivo Surgical, revealed that the company has already raised a significant portion of the targeted amount since the beginning of the year. The funds raised will also support the expansion of Vivo Surgical’s workforce, with plans to double its staff to over 40 employees within the next year, primarily focusing on R&D activities.

AiTreat, a Singaporean medical device manufacturer, has gained prominence in China’s healthcare sector with its cutting-edge robotic massage therapist, Emma. Powered by data-driven algorithms and advanced robotics, Emma delivers precise and effective treatments, setting it apart from traditional therapists. With plans to expand into the US and Chinese markets, AiTreat has partnered with the Mayo Clinic for clinical trials. Success in these trials could lead to FDA approval within two to three years, opening doors to the lucrative US market.

In addition to its expansion efforts, AiTreat has also established a strategic presence in Suzhou, leveraging ASTAR’s resources to navigate regulatory processes and accelerate its market entry strategy in China. By capitalising on Suzhou’s conducive ecosystem and ASTAR’s extensive network of contacts, AiTreat aims to solidify its position as a leader in robotic healthcare solutions.

Navigating regulatory pathways in China can be complex, but companies like Vivo Surgical and AiTreat have benefited from ASTAR’s support and guidance. By leveraging ASTAR’s network of contacts and resources, these companies have streamlined their regulatory processes and accelerated their market entry strategies.

Singaporean SMEs, supported by ASTAR and Suzhou Industrial Park, are at the forefront of innovation in China’s healthcare market. With transformative technologies like robotic surgical attachments and massage therapists, these companies are revolutionising medical practices and addressing emerging healthcare challenges on a global scale. As they continue to expand their footprint in China, collaboration with ASTAR and Suzhou Industrial Park remains crucial in driving innovation and delivering impactful solutions to patients worldwide.

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