SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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NUS, Agilent, and NUH Launch New Translational R&D Hub to Boost Clinical Diagnostics

The National University of Singapore (NUS), Agilent Technologies, a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets, and National University Hospital (NUH), have established Singapore’s first integrated translational R&D hub that leverages biochemical innovation and research data analytics to develop new methods of translating clinical research into clinical diagnostics.

The NUS-Agilent Hub for Translation & Capture (NUS-Agilent Hub) was officially launched by Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, Director of Medical Services of the Ministry of Health, at the opening ceremony held in NUS today. The research hub, which comprises laboratories located in NUS and NUH, provides 1,000 square metres of research space to facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations among scientists, clinicians, and industry partners to translate biochemical research into clinical applications. Through research in areas such as lipidomics and synthetic biology, and supported by data analytics, NUS and Agilent hope to develop innovative ways that enhance the accuracy of clinical diagnostics based on data obtained from patients’ blood samples. The initial research focus areas are cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which account for 30 percent of all deaths in Singapore in 20171, and affected 440,000 Singaporean adults in 2014, respectively2.

The NUS-Agilent Hub 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 to clinical biochemistry testing. This collaboration between NUS, Agilent, and NUH represents a unique and innovative approach to conducting joint research into important health issues and medical science. The “hub and satellite model” allows research to be conducted centrally, Singapore-based, but shared broadly, both locally, regionally as well as globally through key partnerships and alliances supported by NUS and Agilent.

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “This partnership with Agilent and NUH builds on NUS’ strengths and focus in biomedical sciences and translational medicine, the state-of-art mass spectrometry technology at Agilent and clinical expertise at NUH. We are excited about this unique opportunity to further extend our longstanding collaborative relationship with Agilent and NUH into the area of clinical diagnostics, which could bring about positive societal and economic impact to Singapore.”

“We’re extremely honoured to be working with one of the world’s top research universities and world-renowned principal investigators in developing the next generation of scientific discovery for societal benefit in life sciences,” said Mike McMullen, CEO, and President, Agilent Technologies. “This type of innovative collaboration will not only deliver significant benefit to Agilent and our global customers but importantly also to the University, the people of Singapore and eventually people around the world who will benefit as a result of the work that will be conducted at NUS.”

“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, CEO, NUH.

“We are delighted that Agilent is working closely with NUS and NUH to launch the NUS-Agilent Hub for Translation & Capture. This new R&D hub embodies the spirit of open innovation, whereby companies tap on the unique capabilities of Singapore hospitals and universities to co-develop new solutions for global markets. We hope to continue to nurture collaborations between the private and public institutions within the Medical Technology sector in Singapore,” said Ms. Goh Wan Yee, Executive Director, Healthcare, EDB.

The NUS-Agilent Hub is a continuation of an established and significant partnership that has existed for many years between NUS and Agilent. By extending its substantial investments in R&D with Agilent’s work alongside top universities like NUS, Agilent is able to accelerate its mission of improving the human condition.

About National University of Singapore (NUS)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. We have 17 faculties across three campuses in Singapore, as well as 12 NUS Overseas Colleges across the world. Close to 40,000 students from 100 countries enrich our vibrant and diverse campus community. Our multidisciplinary and real-world approach to education, research and entrepreneurship enable us to work closely with industry, governments, and academia to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in our faculties, 29 university-level research institutes, research centres of excellence and corporate labs focus on themes that include energy, environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases common among Asians; active ageing; advanced materials; as well as risk management and resilience of financial systems. Our latest research focus is on the use of data science, operations research, and cybersecurity to support Singapore's Smart Nation initiative. For more information on NUS, please visit www.nus.edu.sg.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global leader in life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets. With more than 50 years of insight and innovation, Agilent instruments, software, services, solutions, and people provide trusted answers to customers' most challenging questions. The company generated revenues of $4.91 billion in fiscal 2018 and employs 15,550 people worldwide. Information about Agilent is available at www.agilent.com. To receive the latest Agilent news, subscribe to our Newsroom. Follow Agilent on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About the National University Hospital

The National University Hospital is a tertiary hospital and major referral centre with over 50 medical, surgical and dental specialties, offering a comprehensive suite of specialist care for adults, women, and children. It is the only public hospital in Singapore to offer a paediatric kidney and liver transplant programme, in addition to kidney, liver, and pancreas transplantation for adults. The Hospital was opened on 24 June 1985 as Singapore’s first restructured hospital. Each year, the Hospital attends to more than one million patients. As an academic health institution, patient safety and good clinical outcomes are the focus of the Hospital. It plays a key role in the training of doctors, nurses, allied health, and other healthcare professionals. Translational research is pivotal in the Hospital’s three-pronged focus and paves the way for new cures and treatment. A member of the National University Health System, it is the principal teaching hospital of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the NUS Faculty of Dentistry. For more information about the NUH, visit https://www.nuh.com.sg/Pages/Home.aspx

1 Singapore Heart Foundation. Singapore Statistics.
https://www.myheart.org.sg/my-heart/heart-statistics/singapore-statistics/
2 Healthhub, Ministry of Health, Singapore. Diabetes in Singapore.
https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/626/diabetes#footnotes

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