UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Biologics and Stem Cell Bioprocessing in Singapore

01 June 2016, 4:00 pm–6:00 pm

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Design Suite, Bernard Katz, UCL Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Wednesday, 1st June, 4pm in the Design suite with Professor Steve Oh from the Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), A-STAR in Singapore. Prof Oh will present an overview of A-STAR’s activities, what it's like to work there, and discuss collaborative PhD opportunities between UCL and Singapore as well as career opportunities. These are particularly related to the manufacture of cell therapies and protein biologics. The seminar will be followed by a reception.


Biologics, in particular monoclonal antibody production is now a 30 year old veteran. Cell therapies are the younger kids around the block who are growing up into the therapeutic space. Together both of them continue to command and will command multi-Billion dollar industries in the healthcare industry. This presentation is a brief history of how Singapore took a portion of this business through concerted investments, advanced training and manpower development.

The Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), ASTAR is a 26 year old organization which has developed key bioprocess technologies such as expression engineering, cell culture technology, downstream purification, glycol-analytics and stem cell bioprocessing to address the manufacturing and quality assay and control issues in scaling up antibodies, and cells in bioprocesses. BTI has generated about 100 patents during this period and has opportunities for PhD research as well as post-doctoral positions as Singapore moves to build and enhance its presence as the Biomanufacturing Hub in Asia.

Since 2006, when BTI built the Bioprocess Internship Programme, 75% of the 200+ interns have gotten industry positions in the 10 biologics manufacturers located in Tuas, western Singapore; namely Lonza, GSK, Baxalta, Abbvie, Amgen, Novartis, Takeda, Lonza Cell Therapy, Roche and Chugai. This programme too will evolve to incorporate Cell Therapy manufacturing elements as BTI moves forward and we hope to collaborate with UCL in this training and leverage on each other’s strengths. As part of this presentation, we will explore this intent.


Prof. Steve Oh was at UCL as an undergraduate (1984-87) when Biochemical Engineering was just taking off and has worked with Prof. Peter Dunnill and Prof. Mike Hoare in the early days. He completed his PhD in animal cell culture and mixing with Prof. Alvin Nienow, Prof. Nick Emery and Prof. Mohammed Al-Rubeai at Birmingham University, then started his career in BTI in 1990. Steve is currently Director, Stem Cell Bioprocessing and Institute Scientist. His passion is to develop the biomanufacturing processes that will undergird the production of stem cells for cell therapies. The team at BTI have developed integrated microcarrier-based bioprocesses for the expansion of human sources of a variety of adult stem cells (mesenchymal stem cells or MSC); pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells – hESC or hiPSC). The MSCs have been differentiated to bone and cartilage, while the hESC/hiPSC have been differentiated to neuroprogenitors and neurons, cardiomyocytes and blood cells in unified bioprocesses.

Steve also serves as the Asia Vice President of the International Society of Cell Therapy (ISCT), the premier ‘go-to’ society for all things related to education and commercialization of cell therapies.