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Fluidigm opens Singapore's first biochip plant

Posted by iTech - 2005-10-26

SINGAPORE — San Francisco-based Fluidigm unveiled a new facility here on Monday (Oct. 24) that will support rising demand for its integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs) and the firm's regional expansion plans.

The 15,000-square-foot facility incorporates research and development and manufacturing operations and marks Fluidigm's first offshore venture, as well as the first biochip fab in Singapore.

Fluidigm Singapore general manager Grace Yow said the facility is expected to begin full manufacturing of the company's TOPAZ screening chips — used by labs in protein crystallization processes — by mid-2006, and would take on more product lines such as Dynamic Array biochips in the future.

The firm said in a statement that the Singapore plant will play a "key role" in the launch of Fluidigm's next-generation process technologies and the fabrication of new products designed to allow pharmaceutical firms and other clients to manipulate multiple fluids in nanoliter volumes simultaneously.

Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm president and CEO, said the firm would invest about $23.6 million in the Singapore plant over the next five years. Yow added that the company planned to increase its Singapore head count of 10 R&D staff by over five times in the next 18 months.

The company cited the city-state's experience in the semiconductor industry and the government's efforts to groom the biotech sector as the main reasons Singapore was selected for the new operation.

Fluidigm Chairman Sam Colella cited Singapore's "sound regulatory framework" for protecting intellectual property as another reason for locating here.

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