Clearbridge BioMedics


Singapore Memory Project
Zhonghua Secondary School


Clearbridge BioMedics is a Singapore based life science company that specialises in the development of medical devices for cancer diagnostics and patient care. [1] Founded in 2009, Clearbridge BioMedics is a spun-out company of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and an investee of Clearbridge Accelerator, a private company which has established a public-private partnership with the Singapore Government.[1][13]

The company has revolutionized medical diagnosis with devices such as the patented ClearCell® FX System and CTChip® FR. [1] Currently, Clearbridge BioMedics, which is headquartered in Singapore has customers across Asia, Europe and North America. [1]


Clearbridge BioMedics is founded in 2009 by Mr. Johnson Chen, Professor LIM Chwee Teck, Mr. TAN Swee Jin, PhD; and Mr. CHONG Chee Wah.[5]  

In 2009, Professor Lim, who heads the Nano Biomechanics Lab at NUS, and Dr. Tan developed a microfluidic biochip that is able to separate circulating tumour cells (CTC) from cancer patients’ blood samples. [14] This will enable oncologists to tailor cancer treatment based on each patient’s needs and monitor the responses of the patient to their current treatment. [1][14] The first device, the ClearCellTM CX System, took about sixty minutes to process 2mL of blood and was used to capture lung cancer cells. [14] 

In 2013, Clearbridge BioMedics closed S$9 million in a Series B financing round, led by Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd, the wholly-owned Venture Capital arm of Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. Clearbridge BioMedics allocated the funds to further develop the new generation of ClearCell® Systems. [1][3] The new generation ClearCell® FX system is now able to process 7.5mL of blood in an hour, and 4mL of blood in half the time. Clearbridge BioMedics has also revealed its ClearCell® FX System at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2013 Annual Meeting. [1]

In 2014, Clearbridge BioMedics collaborated with the Pathology Department of Singapore General Hospital and the National Cancer Centre Singapore to establish the first Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE) in Singapore. [2] The aim of the new Centre is to further enable the use of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) which is critical in the clinical diagnosis of a patient’s cancer treatment process. [2] 


Two notable products developed by Clearbridge BioMedics are the patented ClearCell® FX System and CTChip® FR1. [1]

ClearCell® FX System
In May 2014, Clearbridge BioMedics launched the ClearCell® FX System which is a fully-automated device that works systematically to retrieve circulating tumour cells from the patients’ blood sample.[1] The retrieved cells allow doctors to easily diagnose the type and stage of cancer which facilitates precise and tailored treatment for patients and a more proactive monitoring of the patient's cancer. [7] A sample of 7.5mL of the patient's blood is first drawn and subsequently transferred to a 50mL centrifuge tube before a red blood cell lysis buffer is added. The supernatant is removed next and the sample is resuspended in the ClearCell® FX resuspension buffer. A CTChip® FR1 is then loaded into the system to begin the enrichment process. This process is completed within an hour and the circulating tumour cells can then be further analyzed. [1] Using this device, researchers studying cancer can monitor the disease progression from its early stages and customize tailored treatments for a patient to treat the disease before it develops further. [7]

CTChip® FR1
The patented CTChip® FR1 is a single-use cartridge designed to enrich cancer cells from the patient's bloodstream, using the principle of Dean Flow Fractionation (DFF).[1] Through the DFF process, larger circulating tumour cells are focused near the inner wall of a spiral channel with trapezoid cross-section which directs the circulating cancer cells away from other cells in the blood sample.[1][18] The CTChip® FR1 is designed to be used once per sample, and allows reloading of another cartridge quickly and effectively. [1][17] 

Notable Projects

Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE):
The Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence (CTC CoRE) was established in January 2014 and is a collaborative effort between the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Clearbridge BioMedics, in partnership with the Pathology Department of Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Its purpose is to facilitate the use of circulating tumour cells in clinical diagnosis and to find new technologies in cancer treatment.[10]  One effective method is to understand the genetic make-up of a patient's cancer cells which can evolve over time. [9] This allows oncologists to provide an accurate, fast and cost-effective diagnostic treatment using blood biopsy, which may replace the conventional surgery and CT scan procedures for cancer treatment in the future. [10]


In 2011, Mr Johnson Chen, co-founder and Managing Director of Clearbridge BioMedics received the Rising Star Innovator-Technopreneur award for the ClearCellTM System. The awards recognise excellent innovation and technopreneurship amongst new companies. [15] In the same year, Professor Lim was awarded with the President’s Technology Award that is presented by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research Singapore. The award is given to research scientists and engineers in Singapore who have contributed outstandingly to research and development that has resulted in significant new technologies or paved innovative use of established technology. [19]

In 2012, Clearbridge BioMedics won three awards at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)’s Asian Innovation Awards ceremony held in Hong Kong for its ClearCellTM System. The WSJ’s Asian Innovation Awards is presented to innovations that break conventional processes to improve the quality of life or productivity. The other awards that the company won at the ceremony included Credit Suisse Technopreneur of the Year Award and Audience Choice Award. [11] The 2012 Asian Entrepreneurship Awards is a business plan competition held in Kashiwanoha, Japan. The company is the only nominee representing Singapore. Clearbridge BioMedics beat 18 other startup companies from 12 countries to take home the top prize. [4][12] In the same year, the company was also named the Most Promising Start-Up at the NUS (National University Singapore) Innovation & Enterprise Awards, an award that recognises companies within the NUS community who have either achieved significant accomplishments in entrepreneurship and innovation or have contributed to the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in Singapore. [20] 

Clearbridge BioMedics was also recognised as one of the hottest start-ups by the Singapore Business Review in 2014. [3][21] The company was also one of the 50 winners who won the prestigious TiE50 in 2014. The award, presented by TiE Silicon Valley, is given out annually and pits thousands of technology start-ups worldwide and is based on the evaluation on the company’s Business Model, Intellectual Property (IP) Value and Leadership team. [1][6][22] 

Written by: Clarissa Ho Rui Wen, Rachel Chia Jia Ying, Ng Yan Ting, Britney Yeow Qing Xin, Ramses Yap Qi Xun and Fanetar Lo Yoong Yung.

Reference List

1.	Clearbridge BioMedics 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014, from

2.	Singapore CTC Core Media Release 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014, from 

3.	Clearbridge BioMedics listed as one of Singapore’s 20 hottest startups. Retrieved December 17, 2014, from

4.	Singapore’s Clearbridge BioMedics wins 2012 Asian Entrepreneurship Awards. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from

5.	Company Overview of Clearbridge BioMedics Pte Ltd 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014, from 

6.	Clearbridge BioMedics in world’s 50 most enterprising technology start-ups list 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from

7.	Clearbridge BioMedics Launching ClearCell FX System for Capturing Circulating Tumor Cell 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014, from

8.	Clearbridge BioMedics launches the ClearCell® FX System at ASCO 2014. Retrieved 15 December, 2014, from

9.	National Cancer Centre Singapore and Clearbridge BioMedics partner to bring circulating tumour cell technology closer to clinic with opening of “Singapore CTC CoRE” (Circulating Tumour Cell Centre of Research Excellence) 2014. Retrieved January 10,2015, from

10.	Clinical Services & Strategic Programs 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2015, from

11.	Clearbridge BioMedics makes a big impact at the 2012 Asian Innovation Awards. Retrieved April 8,2015 from

12.	Clearbridge BioMedics wins Asian Entrepreneurship Award in Japan 2012. Retrieved January 8, from, 

13.	Clearbridge Accelerator (2015),”ClearBridge Accelerator-Our Incubatees”, Retrieved from

14.	Biochip for detecting cancer cells wins IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2015, from

15.	Techventure 2011 gathers bigwigs in tech, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from

16.	An even faster microfluidic chip to detect live cancer cells in blood samples 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2015, from

17.	Clearbridge Biomedics CTChip FR1. Retrieved from 10 January, 2015, from

18.	Channel News Asia - Report on Clearbridge BioMedics Series B, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from

19.	Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Awards and Scholarships, President's Technology Award (2009) Retrieved from 10 January, 2015, from

20.	NUS Enterprise, Innovation & Enterprise Award (2014) Retrieved from 10 January, 2015, from

21.	Singapore Business Review, Singapore’s 20 hottest startups to watch in 2014 (2013) Retrieved from 10 January, 2015, from

22.	TiE50 Awards Program, Home (2015) Retrieved from 10 January, 2015, from