AND then there were nine.
Two gleaming new buildings – Immunos and Neuros – have been added to the seven at Biopolis, the nerve centre of Singapore’s biomedical science ambitions.
They will house research on immunology and neuroscience respectively, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) chairman Philip Yeo said at the launch ceremony yesterday.
Immunology studies the causes of diseases such as AIDS and some cancers, which affect the human immune system and can impair the body’s ability to defend against infections.
Neuroscience looks at diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s that target the nervous system, which controls the body’s movement.
These are areas critical to the Republic’s plans to develop translational research, in which basic science is harnessed for medical use, and “as more companies undertake the discovery and development of new drugs and medical products in Singapore,” Yeo said.
The pair of seven-storey blocks, completed earlier this month, adds 37,000 sq m of space, increasing the Biopolis research complex to a total of 222,000 sq m, or about half the size of Suntec City.
The seven older buildings, completed at a cost of S$500mil (RM1.1bil) in 2004, are now almost fully occupied by more than 2,000 scientists at private and A*Star’s research institutes.
These scientists are involved in diverse areas of research like genomics, stem cells and infectious diseases.
According to science park builder Ascendas, which developed Immunos and Neuros, the two new buildings are likely to be 70% occupied by year-end.
A*Star’s Singapore Immunology Network, set up last December to coordinate immunology research, will also occupy two storeys in Immunos.
“Immunology is critically important, as the immune system plays a fundamental role in a large number of medical conditions like infections, allergy and cancer,” said Yeo.
The aim at Neuros is to house researchers studying diseases that cause nervous systems to deteriorate. Neuroscience is the latest area identified by A*Star as worthy of intensive research. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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