Centre for Technology and Development

In the world of academia, research is often confined within the hallowed walls of its respective institutions. While this does not render the studies or work done less important than those with commercial application, it does mean that sometimes discoveries that could change patients’ lives are not developed further. With the new Centre for Technology and Development (CTeD) – Duke-NUS hopes to change this.

Since its inception in 2006, numerous innovations have come about from the research activities of Duke-NUS’ prolific faculty and students, bringing to reality the goal of bench-to-bedside treatment that improves patient outcomes. To date, 37 patent applications have been filed for research and technological innovations conceived from work at Duke-NUS. In addition, over 50 invention disclosures have been filed. Thus far, Duke-NUS and its partners have completed the out-licensing of five technologies. As more such scientific endeavors begin to also reach commercial potential, more support is needed to help investigators achieve that goal.

According to Vice Dean David M. Epstein, who heads the Centre, “The aim is to facilitate translation of research arising from the activities of Duke-NUS, SingHealth and its partners  into commercial application. As Duke-NUS’ research activities come to fruition, Duke-NUS investigators and research personnel will require more support to facilitate commercial development by establishing sustainable, long-term relationships with external private and public partners.”

Assoc. Prof. Epstein, previously Senior Vice President Oncology, Chief Scientific Officer, and Site-Head at OSI Pharmaceuticals in New York, is a leading scientist in cancer drug discovery and translational sciences. His work in targeting drivers of cancer development and epithelial-mesenchymal transition has led to the discovery and development of four agents able to target cancers of the lung, ovary and prostate.

Under his leadership, Assoc. Prof. Epstein aims for CTeD to provide long-term value to biomedical research at Duke-NUS by helping its innovative translational programs realize commercial potential. The Centre will also contribute to Duke-NUS' training of biomedical scientists, particularly in technology development and applications, so as to facilitate manpower development for the Singapore biomedical industry.

CTeD is part of the Duke-NUS Office of Research. Added Prof. Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean, Research: "The Centre will further develop Duke-NUS technologies and provide entrepreneurial training to interested scientists and staff with the goal of enhancing the commercialization of our technologies and to demonstrate a positive return on the investment that our stakeholders have made in Duke-NUS."

Key activities of CTeD:

• Development of a strategic plan aligning intellectual property with internal research and commercial opportunity assessment

• Advancement of selected programmes with commercial potential to value inflection points

• Provide consultation and training to investigators, as well as Duke-NUS MD and PhD students, in developing translational programs and seeking funding from commercial enterprises to support these programmes