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Dettol owner Reckitt launches 5,000 sq ft R&D centre at Biopolis

Jovi Ho
Jovi Ho • 3 min read
Dettol owner Reckitt launches 5,000 sq ft R&D centre at Biopolis
From left: Alex Bamford, chargé d'affaires, British High Commission in Singapore; Vijayanand Sinha, president, Asean, Japan and Korea, Reckitt; Laura Clark, vice-president, R&D, Reckitt; and Cindy Koh, executive vice-president, accounts, EDB.
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British multinational consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser launched its new research and development (R&D) centre in Singapore on July 18, joining the London-listed company’s network of R&D centres in the US, the UK, India and China.

The 5,000 sq ft R&D lab, located within Nucleos at Biopolis Road, will serve markets worldwide with a key focus on the Asean region, according to Reckitt, which owns Dettol and Strepsils, among other brands.

Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Reckitt has made “strategic investments” in developing its R&D centre, though its president for Asean, Japan and Korea declined to reveal this figure.

“Suffice to say, we will keep investing as our needs grow,” says Reckitt’s Vijayanand Sinha. “We are very keen to ensure that this region, and this R&D centre, has what it takes to actually deliver.”

The centre will focus on developing the antiseptic Dettol — “a very exciting brand” for Reckitt, he adds. “Within the world of Dettol there are many aspects. [We are] ensuring that health and hygiene reaches this part of the world.”

According to Reckitt, the centre uses compaction technology to minimise water consumption when preparing products.

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The R&D centre in Singapore currently employs 14 staff, with three vacancies. Together with a Tuas plant and an office at Marina Bay Financial Centre, Reckitt has a total strength of 350 employees in Singapore.

Reckitt’s R&D centre is testament to Singapore’s strong position as an innovation hub for businesses, says Cindy Koh, executive vice-president, accounts at EDB. “Reckitt will be able to tap on the established network of scientific institutions and research talent base in Singapore, to drive advancements in its personal care portfolio. The new lab will help Reckitt be closer to the growing consumer market in Southeast Asia and enable the company to create new products for the region.”

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In her opening address, Koh says she was personally involved in discussions to establish the R&D centre back in 2018, travelling to New Jersey the subsequent year to meet with Reckitt executives.

Reckitt’s Tuas facility made headlines in June 2022 for exporting infant formula base powder to the US amid a national shortage there, after Reckitt’s subsidiary Mead Johnson received import approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to Koh, the Singapore plant exported over 20 million 8-ounce servings of infant formula to the US. “[This] was the first instance of the US FDA approving and allowing infant formula powder to be imported into the US. That is a strong testament to Reckitt’s Tuas plant in Singapore [and] the world-class safety and quality control standards.”

Photos: Reckitt

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