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Center of Excellence Set Up for Explorative Cardiovascular Studies
Bayer and National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) have entered into a 5-year collaboration agreement to set up a “Center of Excellence for Explorative Cardiovascular Studies” with the aim of boosting patient-centricity in research and development and improving treatment outcomes in cardiovascular disease management.

Combining NHCS’ vast experience in managing Asian CVD patients and clinical research and Bayer’s expertise in pharmaceutical R&D, the Center will generate and integrate high quality patient data into early clinical research which will allow better understanding of the underlying biology of CVDs. The results could potentially lead to future targeted therapies to address unmet medical needs in defined patient populations. Bayer will contribute S$5.4 million (approx. EUR3.4 million) towards setting up of the Center.

Asia Pacific accounts for more than half of the world's CVD burden, which is projected to rise with the region’s aging trends. In Singapore alone, 17 people die from CVDs every day, with about 1 out of 3 deaths due to heart diseases or stroke2. Despite this high unmet need, there is a lack of understanding of the causes and consequences of co-morbidities, disease onset/progression and treatment outcomes in Asian CVD patients. Current R&D into CVD does not take into account the diverse characteristics of Asian CVD patients. Reliable data and standardized approaches in understanding disease patterns including risk profiles among such patients are critical to developing more effective CVD therapies.

“The setting up of the Center marks a significant milestone to encourage a more sustainable output of patient-centric cardiovascular research into Asian patient populations, which will in turn impact clinical practice and healthcare priorities in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region,” said Prof Terrance Chua, Medical Director and and Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, NHCS.

“Our collaboration in this initiative will open up possibilities for other Asian centers to contribute, collaborate and expand the collective knowledge and expertise on cardiovascular disease management. This will accelerate the development of more effective therapies to better manage and treat Asian CVD patients,” said Professor Carolyn Lam, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, NHCS who is also the Principal Investigator of the Center.

The collaboration will see researchers from NHCS and Bayer working together over the next 5 years. The Center will address three key areas of research. First, continuous generation of new data and analysis of existing data of CVD patients and healthy individuals, for early research studies. Second, deep understanding of the underlying disease biology in humans to identify, based on mechanism, specific patient groups that can benefit from targeted therapies. Lastly, exploring the pharmacological potential of a candidate cardiovascular drug via explorative in-human studies to validate biology and demonstrate efficacy.

“Singapore’s high-quality research infrastructure, world-class healthcare system and its diverse population make it an ideal Asian research hub and digital test bed for experimental clinical pharmacology and early cardiovascular studies,” said Dr Philip Larsen, Head of Pre- Clinical Research, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division.

“Bayer’s collaboration with National Heart Centre Singapore demonstrates our continued commitment to growing our cardiovascular research in Singapore and in Asia, to improve our current understanding of cardiovascular diseases and deliver better treatments to patients.”

To date, Bayer has invested more than S$27 million into research projects on Asian prevalent diseases (oncology and CVD) in Singapore. In particular, over the last 4 years, Bayer has invested approximately S$6.1 million in understanding the Asian phenotype of heart failure with ASIAN-HF.

Bayer has ensured that the Asia Pacific population is well-represented in its R&D activities, with the number of ongoing clinical trials spanning oncology and cardiovascular indications conducted in the Asia Pacific more than doubling from 21 in 2007 to 50 in 2019, out of which 22 of them are conducted in Singapore.

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