Dr Sidney Yee is a chemist and research scholar. She is CEO of the Diagnostics Development Hub and executive vice president of A*ccelerate, the commercialization arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
The agency is Singapore’s lead public sector body spearheading economic-oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology.
She works with her team to “productize” innovative diagnostic technologies at DxD Hub and leads the Incubation and Start-up Management team at A*ccelerate advising and supporting startup activities.
She will be a keynote speaker at the entrepreneur forum “Technology Experts Create the World via Innovation” during the Pujiang Innovation Forum.
Sidney Yee is CEO of the Diagnostics Development Hub and executive vice president of A*ccelerate, Singapore
Q: What’s your understanding of the theme “New Vision and New Future of Science and Technology Innovation?”
A: In the world of sustainable globalization, it is important to embrace new, and deepen existing, partnerships to move toward solving the same problems in the most cost-effective and efficient ways.
This is true especially for a world that is increasingly connected by geography, economy, culture and ethnicity. Global problems require global solutions. Therefore, international collaboration is key to the advancement of science and technology.
Q: How has the DxD Hub transformed the development of the local diagnostics and medical devices ecosystem?
A: Led by the Agency for Science and Technology Research (A*STAR), through its commercialization division A*ccelerate, DxD Hub is a national entity to bridge the gap in diagnostics solution commercialisation. DxD Hub brings together clinicians, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and industry professionals onto a common platform to fast track the development of clinically-validated, market-ready diagnostic tools and solutions.
This was premised on the problem statement of research output not reaching the market efficiently due to a lack of capability in small companies and lack of risk-appetite in large MNCs.
To address the gap, DxD Hub built itself as a productization engine to focus on product development and market development. In the process, DxD Hub also changed the mindset of research innovators from that of a research to an industrialization one.
Q: What kind of experience can be drawn from that for Chinese research institutions?
A: This is a model that exists in large multinationals to accelerate the product development for internal pipeline. Analogous to a large corporation, Singapore built this model to accelerate its research output to its SMEs.
The model of risk sharing and upside sharing ensures alignment of commercial goal with our partners.
Global companies have also been more likely to work with us to adopt the research output because we help them de-risk. This could be a good model for Chinese research institutes from the perspectives of engaging global organizations.
Q: From your experience, what’s the ideal mechanism to apply research ideas and drug discoveries to in real life benefit the broader community?
A: Start with the end in mind. Give strong support to scientists who are entrepreneurial to spin out to productize and commercialize.
At the same time, establish enterprise arm to help bridge the gaps for commercial application.
Q: What would be your suggestion for women who want to work in the STEM disciplines and for young researchers?
A: It is tough so you should go for it only if you are strongly passionate about STEM. Be perseverant and open minded. It takes team work for this to work, and you need strong family support.