Posts tagged medicine
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…)
A new 400 bed, 280,000 sq ft hospital will be built in the Iskandar Malaysia development region in Johor, featuring “Centres of Excellence” including a heart centre, an aged care centre, cancer centre and a cosmetic and reconstructive centre, plus others. The facility will be a collaboration between specialist hospital operator KPJ Healthcare Bhd and Johor Land Bhd.
The Centre will be built in two phases beginning in 2012, with 150 beds proposed for the first phase. Cost per bed is estimated at around RM1000 (US$329). As with other medical facilities in the Johor region it is aimed at foreign patients (or ‘medical tourists’) as well as locals, promising to offer the highest standard of care in all areas of medicine.
Business Times reports KPJ has embarked on a series of new projects lately, investing between RM50-80 million ($16.4-26.3 million) per hospital for new specialist centres in Bandar Baru Klang, Muar, Pasir Gudang and Kuantan. It also purchased the Sibu Specialist Medical Centre and Sibu Geriatric Health and Nursing Centre in Sarawak in April. KPJ has identified geriatric care as a huge growth sector and has agreed to buy a 51% share of Australia’s Jeta Gardens Waterford Trust for RM19 million ($6.24 million).
The company’s total revenues for 2010 were RM1.65 billion ($542.3 million), up 13% from the previous year.
The Singapore Government has launched a new initiative to encourage medical technology startups, offering a S$40 million (US$32.6 million) fund under the Biomedical Science Accelerator (BSA) Program.
Singapore’s entrepreneurship promoter SPRING Singapore said its investment unit SPRING SEEDS Capital will manage the program, identifying ‘high-potential med-tech startups’, investing in them on a one-to-one basis and assisting the sector to better commercialize the intellectual property it develops.
Biotech is a key contributor to Singapore’s economy, consisting of 10% of Singapore’s manufacturing output and employing 13,000 people. The BSA program acknowledges that startups in the field often struggle with its knowledge and capital intensive nature, and aims to help those with innovative ideas succeed.
source & article: Today Online