Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Heart Centre (NHC) have agreed to work on furthering research and development of cardiovascular technology, with the goal of bringing such research to successful commercialisation. Commercialisation will mean turning research into new and better biomedical devices that will improve patients’ lives.

The partnership brings together the NTU School of Materials Science and Engineering’s (MSE) expertise in biomaterials technology and NHC’s proficiency in cardiovascular clinical services.

Under the partnership, the School will develop biomedical technology and its related devices, on which NHC will then conduct clinical trials. Following successful trials, commercialisation of the devices is expected.

Already, the School has a project lined up for collaboration with NHC. Recently the School signed an agreement with Merlin MD (a biomedical company) to develop a drug-eluting coating for Merlin’s CE-marked X*Calibur Coronary Stent. The stent will then undergo clinical trials at NHC. (Please see attached factsheet for further information on drug-eluting stents).

This project presents a model that combines the R&D strength of NTU, medical capabilities of NHC and the marketing network of Merlin MD, and could well be a winning formula for growing the biomedical industry here in Singapore. (Please see attached factsheet for further information.)

Professor Freddy Boey, Dean, NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, said: "In Singapore, the biomedical sciences industry has been identified as a key growth engine for the economy. By offering combined R&D and clinical services, the two organisations could help attract international biomedical companies to Singapore and support the country’s push to be a biomedical hub."

"NTU has always been at the forefront of biomedical technology, having developed and patented many such technology and devices. However it is even more important to be able to turn new technology into new products that will benefit patients."

"By coupling NTU’s proven expertise in developing biomedical technology and devices, with NHC’s capabilities and facilities for conducting clinical trials, we are now able to offer the industry a partnership that facilitates the development of new products that will benefit patients. Our first project with Merlin will demonstrate the viability of this partnership."

He added: "NTU’s students will also benefit from the training, knowledge creation and career opportunities. Two of our graduates who worked with us are employed by Merlin and I believe other biomedical companies will also find our graduates suitably trained."

Associate Professor Koh Tian Hai, Medical Director, NHC, said: "In the field of Cardiology, technology has begun to play an increasing role in many of the treatments we use today. Research Units such as our Research and Development Unit and the NTU’s School of MSE play pivotal roles in the synchrony and integration of biology, technology and most importantly information, for the rapid development of such technology for our patient’s benefit."

He continued, "I am extremely pleased that such collaboration is thriving locally as this will only serve to promote the image of Singapore as a biomedical hub with a broad range of expertise, including developmental and translational cardiovascular research."

The partnership between the two organisations was formalised today under a memorandum of understanding signed by Associate Professor Koh Tian Hai, Medical Director, NHC and Professor Freddy Boey, Dean, NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering.