Launch of A New Joint Innovation Laboratory In Singapore To Advance Personalised Medicine For Cancer Treatment

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Public-private partnership between Singapore-based start-up Invitrocue and A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore

L-R: Dr Benjamin Seet, Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Council, A*STAR; His Excellency Bruce Gosper, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore; Dr Steven Fang, Chief Executive Officer / Founder, Invitrocue Ltd; The Hon Martin Hamilton Smith, Minister for Trade and Investment, South Australian Government; Dr Raj Thampuran, Managing Director, A*STAR; Professor Ng Huck Hui, Executive Director, Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS); Professor Noel Lindsay, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Entrepreneurship), University of Adelaide

Invitrocue, a leading healthcare bio-analytic solutions provider at the forefront of personalized medicine, has established a first-of-its-kind joint laboratory with A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) to better guide clinical decisions in cancer management. The GIS-IVQ Joint Laboratory aims to boost expertise and develop tumour models to enhance decision-making for clinicians, enabling them to personalize treatments that will help patients manage the disease and prolong survival.

The laboratory is the first in Asia-Pacific to focus on the integration of phenotypic and genomic data with patient response performed prospectively. This means that patient-derived tumour models, functional genomics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) or data mining will be used to identify novel biomarkers of drug resistance and response, and to provide real-time guidance of treatment in a clinical setting.

Located at the Genome building in Biopolis, the laboratory will focus on the development and integration of Invitrocue’s Onco-PDOTM1 platform for four oncology indications, which include head and neck cancer; colorectal cancer; liver cancer; and triple-negative breast cancer. These cancers were specially chosen as they are diseases with no biomarker-guided therapy, and are prevalent in Singapore and across Southeast Asia.

Dr Steven Fang, Executive Director and Founder of Invitrocue, and Adjunct Professor of the University of Adelaide, said, “The GIS-IVQ Joint Laboratory is another significant milestone for Invitrocue, and a happy reunion story since the company was spun-off from A*STAR five years ago in 2012. Our innovative approach in using bioanalytics for healthcare has been validated by leading pharmaceutical companies. The new lab will bring our work another step closer to commercialisation for life-saving technologies that essentially takes the guesswork out of cancer treatment and improves the quality of life for the patient.”

Prof Ng Huck Hui, Executive Director of GIS added, “We are delighted to partner Invitrocue; this collaboration will help to advance our research in precision medicine and most importantly, contribute to better patient outcomes through the development of new treatments.”

The joint laboratory will leverage GIS’ expertise in genomics, oncology and organoid biology, and Invitrocue’s capabilities in developing cell-based products and services for commercialisation. The joint laboratory will employ up to 20 personnel in various scientific and technical roles, and targets to add 18 new positions which require cell biology and bioengineering expertise over the next two years. Invitrocue has also partnered with groups in Australia, such as the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, to scale up its efforts.

The GIS-IVQ Joint Laboratory was officially launched on monday as part of the University of Adelaide’s Third 2017 Australia-Singapore Relationship Conference held in Singapore. The event was graced by His Excellency Bruce Gosper, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, and the Hon. Martin Hamilton-Smith MP, Minister for Investment and Trade, Government of South Australia.