BioMed One @ Tuas Biomedical Park, which will cater to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) providing services to the biomedical industry, has broken ground and will come onstream in the first quarter of 2015.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development, Lee Yi Shyan, said: "Conceived as the next phase of development for Tuas Biomedical Park, the $62 million BioMed One will feature a Vendors Hub, which serves as a platform for biomedical companies located there to aggregate their demands for supporting services, process equipment and laboratory supplies."

A joint initiative between JTC Corp and Bio-pharmaceutical Manufacturers Advisory Committee (BMAC), the eight-storey BioMed One will have a gross floor area of 29,000 square metres and a plot ratio of 2.5, the highest in Tuas.

JTC expects the new building will help bring about a quicker turnaround time, greater cost-competitiveness and higher efficiencies for the clients of these SMEs.

"Co-locating in a single building will foster more collaboration amongst the players and make it easy for manufacturers, especially new ones, to source for supporting services," added Png Cheong Boon, chief executive of JTC, adding that being closer to their customers at BioMed One could create more business opportunities for vendors and suppliers, too.

BioMed One will feature shared meeting and training rooms as well as amenities, such as food and beverage outlets, a gym, a clinic and childcare services.

JTC, which has started to engage companies in discussions, expects the building to house some 20-30 firms, largely SMEs.

Carlos Pereira, co-chairman of BMAC and site head for Novartis Singapore Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, said: "The response time is going to be faster and also the ability to network by sharing some spaces is going improve."

BMAC, which represents companies located in Tuas Biomedical Park, expects to use the facility as well, which could lead to greater exchange between vendors and biomedical firms. Thirteen global biomedical players are based at the 312-hectare Tuas Biomedical Park in Tuas View, including Pfizer Asia Pacific, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and Wyeth Nutritionals.

The Biomedical Park, which was set up in 1997 to support the Republic's biomedical sciences industry, enables firms located there to leverage on common utilities and services for greater economies of scale, reducing costs and the amount of upfront capital investment needed.

Manufacturing output from Singapore's biomedical industry has increased almost five-fold over the past decade, from $6 billion to $29 billion. The industry employs some 18,000 people, up from 6,000 previously. At $977,000 per worker, the biomedical industry has the highest value-add among the manufacturing clusters in Singapore.