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NUS spin-off sweeps up Asian innovation awards

22 November 2012

Prof Lim (right) and Mr Johnson Chen, Managing Director of Clearbridge BioMedics, with their awards

Clearbridge BioMedics' biochip is able to isolate circulating tumour cells

Photo: Clearbridge BioMedics

An NUS spin-off firm has made a clean sweep of three awards at the Asian Innovation Awards 2012, including the top Gold Prize. The first to achieve such a feat, Clearbridge BioMedics also clinched The Credit Suisse Technopreneur of the Year Award and Audience's Choice Award at the ceremony in Hong Kong on 20 November.

Organised by The Wall Street Journal Asia and Credit Suisse, the annual ceremony acknowledges inventions or innovations that adopt creative approaches to improve quality of life or productivity. This year, the judges received more than 240 applications, which were narrowed down to 12 finalists.

Clearbridge's patented ClearCell System is a diagnostic kit that can detect, isolate and retrieve intact circulating tumour cells from blood. Able to pick up cancer cells in small amount of blood samples, a biochip stains them for identification and enumeration. The system, which has secured an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification for medical devices, is available for the research market and has possible applications in the screening, diagnosis and treatment monitoring of cancer.

Professor Lim Chwee Teck, co-founder of the company who was at the ceremony to receive the awards, is attached to the NUS Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering.

Sofshell, another Singapore start-up that developed light flexible padding for body armour, won the Silver Prize. The company was co-founded by NUS engineering alumnus Dr Davy Cheong, who was Prof Lim's final-year student.