Amgen, a global biotechnology company, and NSG BioLabs, Singapore-headquartered biotechnology (biotech) incubator, announced on Tuesday the launch of a three-year Golden Ticket sponsorship. Amgen’s Golden Ticket sponsorship marks the first of the NSG Tomorrow Program created to help innovative biotech startups execute their vision.

As part of the sponsorship, Amgen will support one “Golden Ticket” award each year for three years, providing winners with one year of free residency in NSG Biolabs’ fully equipped turnkey BSL-2 laboratory as well as additional facility benefits and connections to Amgen’s scientific and business leaders. Companies and pre-incorporated projects in Singapore which are conducting research in specialised biotech fields or developing novel medicines and therapeutics can apply to join the competitive programme. Areas of interest include novel and transformational therapies to treat oncology, inflammatory, hepatic, and cardiometabolic diseases as well as innovative research and biomanufacturing platforms. Amgen’s internal scientific committee selects the Golden Ticket winner following an interactive pitch event.

“Singapore is a leading innovation hub in Asia, with high-quality biomedical science performed at internationally renowned institutions based in the country. Recognizing the growing biotech ecosystem locally, and Amgen’s high-tech biopharmaceutical manufacturing footprint located in Singapore, our sponsorship of the Golden Ticket with NSG BioLabs aims to further foster early-stage life science companies and provide unique mentoring opportunities for local scientist-entrepreneurs. Amgen R&D and Operations teams are excited to partner with NSG BioLabs to support the burgeoning bioscience community in Singapore, and further enable emerging life-science startups,” said Philip Tagari, Vice President Therapeutic Discovery, Amgen.

Amgen Singapore began operations in 2014 as Amgen’s first Next-Generation biomanufacturing facility in Asia, heralding state-of-the-art efficiencies and innovative production of medicines in commercial-scale manufacturing. Working closely with healthcare providers and the community to address the region’s growing healthcare needs, Amgen continues to drive innovation in science and biotechnology and develop a pipeline of skilled specialists and quality biomedical careers for the Singapore biotech industry.

Since its launch in 2019, NSG has achieved several major milestones in its mission to empower innovative biotech companies and enhance the ecosystem in Singapore. In 2021, with site one at full capacity, the company doubled its facility capability, enabling it to support more biotech companies by providing state-of-the-art equipment and space, as well as access to a diverse and growing community of innovators and scientists. Residents at NSG include large multi-national companies like Applied Materials, L’Oréal Research & Innovation, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies and promising local startups like Engine Biosciences, ImmunoScape and PairX Bio.

The startups at NSG have achieved notable breakthroughs, with over S$100 million in funds raised, major partnerships, and new product launches since 2020. NSG currently has over 20 local and international resident companies, specialising in a diverse range of transformative technologies and life-changing applications such as genome editing, tissue engineering, cellular agriculture, cancer immunotherapy, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, neurodegeneration drug discovery, and COVID-19 diagnostics.

The COVID-19 pandemic and success in vaccine and therapeutic development have drawn global attention to the biotech sector. Sector growth is accelerating in Singapore with local research yielding fruit, local companies expanding internationally and attaining key milestones, strong government support, and industry leaders establishing key commercial operations and manufacturing/production facilities in the country. Yet, Singapore’s biotech startups continue to face unique technical, structural, and cultural challenges in launching and growing.

“With our first-hand experience in both the Singapore and US biotech sectors, NSG BioLabs has a deep understanding of the challenges biotech startups face. It is vital that we support their work as it could lead to new life-changing medicines. It is in this spirit that we started NSG Tomorrow, and we are honored that Amgen shares our vision to help biotech startups grow and facilitate Singapore’s development into an international biotech powerhouse,” said Daphne Teo, CEO and Founder of NSG BioLabs.

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