Updated on 21 December 2012
BIOTEC Medical Biotechnology Research Unit, Chiang Mai University and Mahidol University jointly developed four serotypes of dengue vaccine candidate. The team successfully engineered the chimeric live attenuated vaccine for four serotypes of dengue virus. On February 21, 2011, the NSTDA, Chiang Mai university, Mahidol University and BioNet Asia announced a licensing agreement for this chimeric vaccine. The agreement enables BioNet Asia to further develop and produce the vaccine for testing in pre-clinical and clinical stages. This collaboration is expected to commercialize the dengue vaccine in Thailand and eventually expand to the ASEAN market and beyond.
The Thai government too is stepping up efforts to encourage the industry. The R&D spend, which has so far been 0.25 percent of the GDP, is expected to be increased to one percent in the next three years. Dr Kirtikara said the industry too needs to play a bigger role. "So far, majority of the funding for research has been coming from the government, but this can't be the case if we want to achieve the one percent target. The industry has a much bigger role to play and now the platform is in place for the industry to step in," she point out.
Agriculture and clean technology are two areas that have the potential to drive the Thailand industry. "Although work has started, we still need some time to catch up with the drug and biopharma industry. However, many big companies are now interested in using clean technology. They are looking at biotechnology to provide clean solutions and this is where the Thailand industry can step in to meet the government's aim," she said.