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SPOTLIGHTS
New Biomedical R&D Centre Set Up by Lite-On Group in Singapore

Early this year in January, Singapore government announced a SGD 4 billion funding to health and biomedical science sector over the next 5 years (2016-2020) in Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan. Attracted to Singapore government’s commitment in establishing a global R&D hub, Lite-On Technology had taken its first move to set up its first overseas biomedical R&D centre in Singapore.

Lite-On Technology Corporation is a Taiwanese company founded in 1975, which pioneered in Taiwan’s IT industry. The company has been serving customers from various industries such as Communication, Computer, Consumer Electronics, LED Lighting, Cloud Computing and Automation.

Since 2011, Lite-On has expanded its business scope to medical devices by capitalizing on the company's core technologies and intellectual resources in optical, mechanical, electrical domains and strategic alliance with Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) of Taiwan. The company develops innovative In-Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) products under the brand of skyla®.

On 2 March 2016, Lite-On Technology has announced the launch of a new Biomedical Research and Development Centre in Singapore. With a focus of IVD products in this new R&D centre, Lite-On will provide its innovative product designs and manufacturing ability to healthcare industry and brings its range of cutting-edge technology and technical entry barrier products to Singapore.

Interview with Mr. Danny Liao
Group New Business CEO, Lite-On Group
"We know that the Singapore government is committed to invest in the development of biomedical industry. Besides this strong support, the country's economic stability, the well-known protection of intellectual property assets and high-quality manpower, all of these attracted us to set up our first overseas biomedical R&D centre here."

Danny was appointed as Lite-On Group New Business CEO since 2013 and is responsible for developing the company’s new business including industries such as Biomedical, Portable Image and Industrial Automation. No stranger to the Lite-On group, Danny has also held multiple posts that include being the Plant Director, Senior VP of Procurement Dept. and Sales & Marketing Dept., Head of Optical Storage Business Unit since 2009. Notably, from 2002 to 2013, he served as President, CEO and CSO of the Lite-On IT Corporation. In addition to his outstanding working performance, in his personal time, Danny is very active in the ICT industry and has served as the Vice President of Taiwan Information Storage Association as well as the Vice President of Executive Committee of DVD Club.

From 2011 to 2013, Mr. Danny Liao was also appointed as the CEO of LeoTek Electronics Corporation, subsidiary of Lite-On Group, which is a leading company and brand of LED Street Lights and Traffic and Transit in North America with leading market shares, as well as the leading brand of LED Street Lights in Taiwan in the year of 2013. Danny Liao holds a MBA of Lake Superior State University.

1. What is the mission & focus of Lite-On Group with regards to biomedical/life sciences industry?

Our mission is to provide cost-effective, affordable products for in-vitro diagnostics to support patient healthcare. Within the in-vitro diagnostics, our focus is to provide full range of products for clinical chemistry analyses, and point-of-care medical device for the measurement of blood gas, electrolytes, cardiac biomarkers, and infectious diseases etc.

2. Lite-On Group chose Singapore as the first R&D centre outside Taiwan. Could you share what led to this decision?

There were several factors that led to this decision – Singapore government has been very supportive on the biomedical field, with very strong R&D funding supports to universities, hospitals, A*STAR, and SME. In addition, its stable economy has made it an ideal location for R&D. The commitment of intellectual property (IP) protection is very attractive for biomedical industry. Besides, the clinical strengths and talented medical professionals in Singapore is also an important factor.

3. What potentials do you see in the biomedical industry in Singapore? What would be the impact for the worldwide market?

Singapore has a wealth of talents in A*STAR, local universities and hospitals. There are more and more biomedical companies moving in and setting up R&D activities in Singapore. In addition, we also see some local biomedical start-ups working on innovative biomedical technologies. Its strong relationship with China, India and South Asia countries is also attractive for doing business with these countries. The current worldwide market is dominated by the western companies, as they are the pioneers with great market share.

4. Could you briefly introduce the skyla® technology and products (medical and veterinary diagnostics)?

skyla® was setup in 2011 with manpower from researchers at Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan and the product development engineers from Lite-On Group. It combined the R&D capabilities at ITRI and the mass-fabrication abilities of Lite-On. This unique synergy enables skyla® to develop its first product (skylaTM HB1 clinical chemistry analyser) and secure the CE-IVD certification within three years. The clinical chemistry analyser is a fully automated desktop system, which can detect 29 common biomarkers for applications such as liver and renal function detections, metabolic function measurement, etc. The system can also support the veterinary diagnostics.

Besides the Clinical Chemistry Analyzer, we also have products for Type 2 diabetes detection:

1. glucose sensor (skyla ez1 All-In-One Glucose Meter)

2. hemoglobin A1C sensor (skyla A1c Point-of-care Hemogloblin A1c Analyzer)

Learn more about skyla® products and their features at www.skyla.com.

5. Currently, are there any partnerships with overseas research institutions? Are you planning to establish another Research and development (R&D) centre overseas?

At the moment, there are no overseas research partners, and no other plans to set up another R&D centre aside from Singapore.

Over the next 2 years, Lite-On plans to invest SGD 40 million into biomedical industry in Singapore by 2018, with the hopes of meeting 50% of the current global market demand, which worth more than USD250 million. They are looking to hire Singaporeans to fill in key roles within the R&D Center and will also be forging partnerships with both A*STAR and EDB for future investments and research in this field. The biomedical sector will be the next growth driver for Lite-On group.

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LIFE OF A SCIENTIST  

APBN Editorial Calendar 2019
January:
Taiwan Medical tourism
February:
Marijuana as medicine — Legal marijuana will open up scientific research
March:
Driven by curiosity
April:
Career developments for researchers
May:
What's cracking — Antibodies in ostrich eggs
June:
Clinical trials — What's in a name?
July:
Traditional Chinese medicine in modern healthcare — Integrating both worlds
August:
Digitalization vs Digitization — Exploring Emerging Trends in Healthcare
September:
Healthy Ageing — How Science is chipping in
October:
Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
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