Commercializing biomedical science in a rapidly changing “triple-helix” nexus: The experience of the National University of Singapore

. The Journal of Technology Transfer 32 (4): 367--395 (December 2006)


Since the late 1990s, the Singapore government had embarked on a significant push to develop the city-state into a major life-science R&D and industrial cluster in Asia. Although a major focus of this new thrust involves attracting leading life science companies overseas to establish operations in Singapore and developing new public life science research institutions to attract overseas life science research talents (Finegold, Wong, and Cheah (2004)), the local universities are expected to play an important role as well. In particular, the National University of Singapore (NUS), the leading university in Singapore, has also started to pursue major strategic change to become more “entrepreneurial”, and identified life science as a major focus for technology commercialization as well. Adapting the “Triple-Helix” framework of Etzkowitz, Webster, Gebhardt, & Terra (2000), this paper examines the significant changes in the university-government-industry “Triple-Helix” nexus for life science in Singapore, and their consequent impact on life science commercialization at NUS. Implications for universities in other late-comer countries seeking to catch up in the global biotech race are discussed.

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