New R&D hub to boost diagnostics

22 August 2019 | Research - Impact

From left: Prof Tan, Assoc Prof Ong, Agilent President & CEO Mr Mike McMullen and Assoc Prof Liu launching the NUS-Agilent Hub

The newly launched NUS-Agilent Hub for Translation & Capture (NUS-Agilent Hub) will develop new diagnostics tools that will not only detect existing conditions in patients but also test for biomarkers of other diseases for early prevention. The S$38 million research facility is Singapore’s first integrated translational R&D hub leveraging on biochemical innovation and research data analytics to develop new methods of translating clinical research into clinical diagnostics.

A collaboration between NUS, Agilent Technologies and NUH, it was launched by the Ministry of Health’s Director of Medical Services Associate Professor Benjamin Ong on 17 August. It aims to be a global premier one-stop research centre for informing clinical testing through the use of emerging technologies and translational studies to provide greater insight and accuracy.

“The population we care for in NUH is changing rapidly. We need new diagnostics to be tested, and scaled up when successful. This tripartite partnership enables NUH to apply emerging technologies from the university and industry to improve clinical laboratory testing. Validating biomedical breakthroughs from NUS and translating these to clinical care will benefit patients,” said Associate Professor Eugene Liu, Chief Executive Officer of NUH,  

Biomedical science and translational medicine is one of the key areas of research at NUS. With the continued support of industry partners like Agilent as well as our clinical partners at NUH, our researchers are able to carry out cutting edge bench-to-bedside translational research that may someday produce new drugs, diagnostics, and devices for the prevention and treatment of diseases, especially those that are particularly important to our local population and other Asian communities.

Comprising laboratories located in NUS and NUH, some 1,000 square metres of research space, NUS-Agilent Hub represents a unique and innovative approach to conducting joint research into important health issues and medical science. Its “hub and satellite model” will allow research to be conducted centrally in Singapore — and shared globally through key partnerships and alliances supported by NUS and Agilent.

NUS researchers will develop innovative analytical tools for detection and quantification of small molecules of clinical interest using technologies from Agilent such as mass spectrometry, which can then be tested in a clinical setting at NUH. Initial research will focus on cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which accounted for 30 per cent of all deaths in Singapore in 2017, and affected 440,000 Singaporean adults in 2014 respectively.

 “Biomedical science and translational medicine is one of the key areas of research at NUS. With the continued support of industry partners like Agilent as well as our clinical partners at NUH, our researchers are able to carry out cutting edge bench-to-bedside translational research that may someday produce new drugs, diagnostics, and devices for the prevention and treatment of diseases, especially those that are particularly important to our local population and other Asian communities,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye.

See press release.