Want stem cells? Head to Singapore

Tech Culture

If you're a researcher in need of human embryonic stem cells, book a flight to the island state of Singapore.

ES Cell International has started to commercially produce four lines of human stem cells made in accordance with clinical standards. Four additional lines of stem cells should be available in a few weeks. ES claims that, to its knowledge, no other group has begun to sell stem cells to this standard to the research community yet.

Singapore has set its sights on becoming a world leader in biotechnology and medicine and it The country has put millions into Biopolis, a massive drug research complex, and in part it's relying on the U.S. to get there.

The stem cell research controversy in the U.S. means that other nations will likely forge the way in stem cells. Additionally, Singapore has managed to recruit top academics, such as Edison Liu, former director of clinical sciences at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and MIT's Jackie Ying, to move or at least spend part of their time in Singapore.

Since Biopolis was kicked off in 2001, Singapore has managed to recruit Abbott Laboratories and Novartis, among others, to invest millions in their own research and drug production facilities. Singapore provides land subsidies and other incentives.

Duke University is also helping the country establish a medical school, based on Duke's curriculum, slated to open in 2007, which Duke says will be the first U.S.-style med school in Asia. Faculty from Duke will teach at Singapore's Graduate Medical University.

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