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Chugai Pharma to inject $220m into Singapore bio drug lab

Japanese drugmaker plans to expand antibody research to battle specialty startups

Chugai Pharmaceutical also is expanding biopharmaceutical production facilities in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- Japan's Chugai Pharmaceutical looks to invest some 25 billion yen ($221 million) into a Singapore research center for biopharmaceuticals by 2021, seeking to better compete with a host of nimble bioventures.

The drugmaker intends to expand development of therapeutic antibodies at the lab, Chugai Pharmabody Research, which was established in 2012 and sifts tens of thousands of candidate antibodies to discover the select few fit for commercial use. The center currently handles around 3,000 candidates per week. Fresh investments in automation and artificial intelligence are intended to make the process more efficient.

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