Singapore Biotech Sector Loses Stem Cell Researcher Alan Colman

Singapore Biotech Sector Loses Stem Cell Researcher Alan Colman

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 18, 2007 in Business of DNA, DNA in General

Singapore, with its well-educated, English-speaking population, has long been thought of as a potential Asian hub of biotech research and business. Up till now, many of the top tier scientists leading the biotech effort in the country have been recruited from overseas, including British scientist Alan Colman who was a member of the team that cloned Dolly the sheep.

Now Alan Colman is leaving Singapore for King’s College London following the departure of molecular and cell biologists David and Birgitte Lane for Scotland’s University of Dundee. Dr. Colman was executive director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium. Last year, the World Bank gave Singapore a 50-50 chance of success in the biomedical arena because of an overreliance on “footloose” star researchers rather than local scientists.

merlion singapore

According to Reuters, Singapore has invested more than 2 billion US dollars in the biomedical sector. They’ve encouraged start-up companies, new labs, and welcomed controversial projects, such as stem cell research. Although Colman and the Lanes claim they will continue to spend a significant amount of time in Singapore, there are doubts that they will be able to accomplish much for the local sector in such limited amounts of time.

Despite this set of bad news, I’m not convinced the situation is so dire. I personally know of companies in Singapore who are on the cutting edge of genomic technology and research. In addition, a number of my classmates at Stanford and Johns Hopkins were from Singapore (including my husband!) and returned to the country to work for locally-owned, international companies or to conduct research. My family and I will be living in Singapore in the future and I look forward to finding out for myself all the many opportunities available there.

If you’re involved in the Singapore biotech sector, I’d love to learn more about the situation there. Please email me!

via Tomorrow

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Comment by ramunas Subscribed to comments via email

Hi, Hsien,
a friend of mine works there – you may wish to check Biopolis cluster ( – its expanding constantly.

Thanks, Ramunas! I’ve been meaning to visit the Biopolis on my regular trips to Singapore. I should make it a priority next time. :)

Comment by Hugh Subscribed to comments via email

All you need in Singapore is Dr.May Griffith who was born there and would exeed Dr. Colman –she is at University of Ottawa


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Comment by Alan

Colman is not good at research , nor the management either
he is just a sign


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