Posts tagged biotechnology
Support programs are developing a strong industry but access to qualified staff remains an issue, says Geneflux Director and biotechnology entrepreneur Dr. Prashanth Bagali
by Jon Southurst
It’s been over four years since the Malaysian government formed the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), an agency tasked with turning Malaysia’s infant biotechnology sector into a global competitor. BiotechCorp is achieving this with a comprehensive array of programs providing everything from education to entrepreneurial support, investment, training and marketing. Large companies and niche players alike would get the kind of assistance they needed to expand internationally. Geneflux™ Biosciences is one company that took its concept global with a focus on local issues under BiotechCorp’s guidance. Dr. Prashanth Bagali, its Director and co-founder, spoke to us about his company’s experience and the challenge for Malaysia in the 21st century’s preeminent scientific sphere.
The term ‘biotechnology’ refers to the science of life itself. It includes research and techniques involving living organisms from microorganisms to plants and animals, to serve specific applications in improving human health and agriculture. At its cutting edge is genome mapping, cell fusion, gene detection, gene transfer and embryo manipulation. It’s a prestigious, high-value industry with rewards in intellectual property, international sales and reputation among the world’s scientists.
The national interest in biotechnology started as early as the 5th Malaysian plan (1986-1990) but was given due recognition and emphasis starting from the 8th Malaysian Plan (2001-2005). Before 2007, healthcare biotechnology in Malaysia was an embryo itself. The existing industry was driven by traders, equipment suppliers and reagent vendors, with less than 100 local patents filed of any international importance. That was around the time BiotechCorp was just beginning, and it was into this scene that entrepreneurs Dr. Bagali and partner Ir.Balagaru Naidu arrived to set up a business.
Geneflux Biosciences registered in 2007 with a focus on the research and development of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based testing kits, a faster way to detect and analyze small quantities (or volume) of DNA or RNA without the need for full cloning. Their kits would be available at affordable prices to developing countries in Asia and Africa, vital in combating diseases affecting those regions. (more…)
Big things continue to happen for the Iskandar Malaysia economic zone near Singapore. Business Times reports Bio-XCell Sdn Bhd says it’s about to announce a new international investor for the zone’s biotechnology park, with another two lined up to join in the next couple of years.
Bio-XCell, which is at the center of the park’s development and its main promoter, is a joint venture between Malaysia’s Biotechnology Corp Sdn Bhd and UEM Land Holdings Bhd. The three prospective tenants helped secure extra funding from Maybank for the project and have even been named: India’s Biocon Ltd, France’s Metabolic Explorer and US-based Glycos Biotechnologies Inc.
Maybank’s new contribution is worth RM250 million (US$82.45 million) as a 12-year Islamic term facility, enabling the development’s first phase to be completed. The first phase’s total RM950 million ($314.45 million) cost will also be funded by foreign direct investment (FDI) and sale of shares to the public. About RM500 million worth of FDI has already been raised.
Iskandar Malaysia’s biotechnology park is a 29-hectare, 1.125 million sq ft space dedicated to making biotechnology a bigger contributor to Malaysia’s GDP, as well as harnessing the economic advantages of its location in the Johor Bahru growth corridor. The plan is to grow the park in three stages over six years. Bio-XCell’s definition of ‘biotechnology’ includes “biopharmaceutical, industrial technology and green chemical” industries not related to agriculture.
source & articles: Business Times