SSB and 2011 Fellows featured on Channel NewsAsia

PUBLISHED: 15 Dec 2011

Singapore-Stanford Biodesign and our 1SSB Fellows were featured on CNA. 

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Singapore and Stanford University set up joint biodesign programme 

SINGAPORE : Four scholars from Singapore will soon be on their way to Stanford University. 

Doctors Henry Ho and Anthony Tang and engineers Fiona Loke and Iris Tan have been chosen as the first batch of Fellows for the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign (SSB) Programme starting January.

It is a three-way collaboration between the Stanford University Biodesign Programme, the Agency for Science, Technology & Research, (A*STAR) and the Economic Development Board (EDB).

SSB was set up in January this year and its goal is to help create new medical devices.

Experts say the demand for cost-effective medical devices in Asia will rise as the population ages and as people who cannot afford Western levels of health-care spending begin to demand equally sophisticated diagnosis and treatment. 

Globally, the market for medical devices is around US$300 billion, according to Advamed Espicom. 

In the US, the medical-device market is worth US$138 billion annually, while in Singapore, device sales chalk up about US$235 million in a year. 

Paul Yock, Director, Stanford Biodesign Programme, said: "The emergence of Asia as a market and as a source of innovation is a really interesting development right now in med tech. We have done technologies in the United States that have been very expensive. And we can't go on inventing like that.

I think there's a convergence of the need for cost effective technologies and the fact that the Asian market is just developing now, that's perfect for this programme. 

It is the time to invent cost-effective technologies and Asia seems to be a terrific place to do that and Singapore is a natural hub."

Creating marketable medical devices requires a multi-disciplinary approach. 

More than 60 people from diverse fields - engineering, medicine and business - applied for the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Programme.

The Fellows this year will focus on devices for eye care.

Henry Ho, Fellow, Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Programme, said: "This kind of biodesign scholarship allows us to realise that may be there are many ideas already within the healthcare providers that are not brought...to the patient's care just because they are not aware of how to do it."

Half of the one-year programme will be spent at Stanford University where the Fellows will interact with industry veterans and experts for a team-based learning while the rest will be in Singapore to develop prototypes. 

The Fellows will also serve as mentors to university students in Singapore.

Applications for the 2012 Fellowships will open in February 2011. - CNA/ch