A*STAR was established on 11 January 1991. It was formerly known as the National Science and Technology Board (NSTB) until January 2002.
On 29 October 2003, Singapore's hub for the biomedical sciences, Biopolis, was opened. A*STAR's biomedical research institutes and centres are located at Biopolis, along with other corporate research labs by companies such as Novartis, Danone, Abbott and Procter & Gamble. Over the years, the biomedical sector in Singapore has expanded in tandem with Biopolis. In 2000, the sector contributed 10 per cent to Singapore's manufacturing value-add. In April 2017, biomedical manufacturing was the second largest contributor to total manufacturing value-add at 19.6 per cent.