Friday, October 11, 2019

Singapore to catalyse ASEAN medical diagnostics initiative and deepen regional connectivity

ASEAN member states meet at the 18th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (AMMSTI-18), and the 77th ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI-77)

ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) Chairpersons doing the traditional ASEAN handshake at the opening of the 77th Meeting of the ASEAN COSTI.



11 October 2019, Singapore — Singapore hosted the 18th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (AMMSTI-18), and the 77th ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI-77) and related meetings from 6 to 11 October 2019. ASEAN Member States (AMS) discussed common challenges and agreed to strengthen collaborations in Science, Technology and Innovation. The meetings were organised by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

AMMSTI-18 and COSTI-771 officially launched projects under the ASEAN Diagnostics Development (DxD) Initiative, which will facilitate the co-development of healthcare diagnostics solutions across the AMS. Another outcome was the endorsement of an ASEAN High Performance Computing (HPC) Workplan.

These projects are in line with the commitment by AMS to strengthen the medical diagnostics ecosystem in Southeast Asia and grow capabilities in high performance computing.

Strengthening ASEAN’s Medical Diagnostics Ecosystem

The ASEAN DxD Initiative was endorsed at the 76th ASEAN COSTI in 2018, to facilitate the co-development of healthcare diagnostics solutions across AMS. Following a call for project proposals earlier this year, a Strategic Planning Panel comprising experts and stakeholders from the AMS are reviewing promising projects aimed at addressing diseases, which are urgent unmet needs in the region, such as dengue and tuberculosis.

The Philippines and Singapore are co-leading the ASEAN DxD Initiative, which aims to promote cross-border public and private partnerships within Southeast Asia to commercialise diagnostics technologies and products. It leverages the Philippines’ ASEAN Network for Drugs, Diagnostics, Vaccines and Traditional Medicines Innovation’s (ASEAN-NDI2) platform in connecting AMS, as well as Singapore’s Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub’s capabilities in building diagnostics products. Since its launch in 2014, Singapore’s DxD Hub3 has worked with the research and clinical communities to deliver commercially viable developed-in-Singapore diagnostic technologies. It has evaluated over 400 technologies, and delivered nine products with Singapore-based companies, including diagnostic tests for cancers and selection of immunotherapy drugs.

Medtech is a key growth sector for Southeast Asia, and the ASEAN DxD Initiative aims to address the rapidly growing healthcare demand driven by population growth and a rising middle class. It will work towards improving human health, to address unmet clinical needs and grow the healthcare industry in ASEAN, as well as accelerate the development of diagnostics intellectual property in ASEAN into clinically validated diagnostic devices that are ready for market adoption.

Ministers from the AMS will visit Singapore’s DxD Hub later today, to learn how the Hub taps on the capabilities of the local scientific and clinical community to address pertinent clinical unmet needs. Over the years, Singapore has invested in capabilities in biomedical research and engineering, which has contributed to its vibrant ecosystem for R&D, innovation, as well as talent. Singapore is well-placed to work together with the other AMS to strengthen ASEAN’s competitiveness and accelerate regional economic growth.

Growing ASEAN’s Capabilities in High Performance Computing

Against the backdrop of increasing digitalisation and technological advancements, the ASEAN HPC Workplan’s aim is to strengthen regional digital connectivity and readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is achieved through increasing access to HPC resources and expertise, fostering public-private partnerships in sectors of mutual interest, and capacity building to equip Southeast Asia’s workforce with HPC skills. Singapore and Thailand will co-lead this initiative through A*STAR’s Computational Resource Centre (A*CRC), and Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NETEC).

Dr Raj. Thampuran, Singapore COSTI Chairmanand Senior Advisor of A*STAR, said, “Science, Technology and Innovation are key enablers to enhance ASEAN’s competitiveness and catalyse economic growth. As Chair of the ASEAN COSTI, Singapore will share its strategies and experiences to strengthen regional economic integration and technology adoption. Through our collective efforts in growing innovative capabilities, and building a strong talent base, we will position ASEAN well to capture opportunities in emerging trends such as digitalisation, and improve the lives of ASEAN citizens.”

1ASEAN COSTI and AMMSTI are under the aegis of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council.

2ASEAN-NDI based in the Philippines was established in 2009 as a health R&D Innovation Network that promotes the discovery and development of health technologies to address health problems and propel the health industry in ASEAN Member States.

3DxD Hub is Singapore’s national initiative led by public innovation and enterprise office, Accelerate Technologies (A*ccelerate), under A*STAR. DxD Hub’s mission is to fast-track the transformation of early-stage research into clinically validated diagnostic devices that are ready for market adoption.

For media queries and clarifications, please contact:

Ms Lynn Hong
Assistant Head, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Tel: +65 6419 6597

Mr Robin Chan
Assistant Head, Corporate Communications
Tel: 6826 6281

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that spearheads economic oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society.

As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability.

We play a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders in our Agency and research entities, the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit

For more information about ASEAN Dx Initiative: