What it takes for medtech and biotech startups to flourish in Singapore

Unlike other accelerators, A*START Central aids startups at every stage of the startup journey, according to Dr Sidney Yee, A*START Central's Executive Vice President.

By Nayela Deeba
Nov. 17, 2016


Located in Block 79 at the JTC LaunchPad at one-north, A*START Central can incubate up to 25 startups. "Today, about 40 percent [of our startups are] in the medtech or biotech space. Over the last five years, we have 30 biotech startups," Yee told GCIO Asia.

A*START Central provides startups with a design-tinkering space, wet lab, mentorship, funding, and access to business networks. It also only takes membership fees -- not equity - from startups. She added that more than half of the startups under A*STAR require the wet lab facility. "[These startups are mainly those who] create platform for consumer healthcare, cosmetics, food products, food safety, or finding the next magic bullet to treat cancer," she added.

Yee also mentioned that A*START Central's definition of accelerator differs from what the media portrays. "[In the news,] accelerators will usually help early stage startups for a period of time, and the success depends on how much investment the startups gets later on. This accelerator model - which works on a finite timeline and only accelerates when you're a company - may not work for Singapore, especially those startups in medtech and biotech."

"Our accelerator [basically goes through] the entire startup journey with the company/startup. We will help them open their (ie. scientists') minds to possibilities, look at their business model as they start to develop something, and finally bring in domain experts such as regulatory or industry experts when they've become a startup. Since this lifecycle can take a long time, we aim to accelerate this journey," Yee concluded.

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