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Biomedical Engineering Industry Alliance (BME IA): Working in Favour of the Industry’s Stakeholders

A PBN was recently invited to attend the 5th Annual Biomedical Engineering Industry Alliance networking event on 11th November 2016 held in the Shaw Foundation Alumni House in the National University of Singapore. There to welcome us was Dr. Dieter Trau, the original founder of BME IA. He introduced us to the current chairman of the organization, Dr. Michael J.A. Girard, with whom Dr. Trau still co-chairs.

Also in attendance were many professors, researchers, industry leaders, media, entrepreneurs and students. The event started at 5 p.m., served with a cocktail reception where the guests are offered a variety of refreshments and drinks, and a spread of Western cocktail food whilst a percussion quartet subtly played their calming melodies in the background.

In this event, BME professors and researchers gathered to meet with industries for potential research collaborations or investment opportunities. There we saw four emerging start-up companies originating from the NUS BME Department. Representatives for these start-ups, in turn, passionately explained their work and product to attendees in their respective booths. Dr. Dieter Trau started two of these start-ups, namely: AYOXXA Biosystems and Tip Biosystems.

AYOXXA Biosystems is an international proteomics company founded on 2010. It has developed LUNARIS©, a proprietary technology platform for multip lex protein analysis of precious, small-volume specimens. Its bead-based chip technology allows industry and university users to realize the full potential of proteomics reliably, including the efficient allocation of its resources and costs. Now AYOXXA has more than 30 employees based in Germany, Boston and Singapore, with a venture capital of more than S$30 million.

Tip Biosystems began in 2014, growing currently with 10 employees. The company developed a personal handheld photometric device “Photopette®”, for life science/biomedical research. It produces faster photometric measurements with the convenience of not needing sample transfer into a cuvette. The “Photopette®” will be launched in early 2017.

Abyss Processing was founded by Dr. Michael Girard, Dr. Jean-Martial Mari and Prof Dieter Trau in 2015 to provide a user friendly solution encompassing novel compensation and digital staining technologies called Reflectivity 4.0, for purpose of enhancing optical coherence tomography (OCT) and ultrasound images. (Refer to the article “Abyss Processing – Exploring the Deep in Medical Images”)

ROCESO Technologies, a Singapore-based medical device company, was also showcasing their soft robotic wearable device, EsoGlove, at the networking event. Founded by Dr. Raye Yeow, Yap Hong Kai and Jane Wong, ROCESO Technologies offer soft robotic solutions to patients with limb motor function impairments. EsoGlove is their first proof-of-concept medical device, which is at least 5 times lighter than current rehabilitation and assistive devices. By wearing the EsoGlove, stroke patients, for example, would be able to move their hands more efficiently, such as gripping, in order to carry out daily activities. It is with the hope that this device would also motivate them to do more rehabilitation exercises.

With 78 members up to date, BME IA’s main purpose is to foster industry links with BME; including students to receive exposure on real-world scenarios in the biomedical/life science industry.

Among the total number of 68 attendees from both industry and academia, 40 of them were industry guests while 28 were from NUS. The event lasted until 8 p.m.

Another BME event will come up in May 2017, where undergraduate and graduate students can showcase their research work through poster presentation to industry executives. Through this interaction, students are given first-hand opportunities to meet with potential employers or secure prospective internship positions.

More information about BME IA can be found on their website at https://bioeng.nus.edu.sg/bmeia/.

By Catherine Domingo Ong
Catherine is a writer whose guilty pleasure is lounging in a peaceful location with a good book (or several) and a latte at hand.



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