Updated on 25 September 2012
Another Indian firm, Strides Arcolab, is also entering the park through its subsidiary Agila Specialities. A manufacturer of sterile injectables, Agila plans to be operational at the park by late 2013. It is investing around $25 million for the project at BioXcell. Among other multinationals that are opening shop at the park are Metabolic Explorer from France, a green chemistry company that develops fermentation-based industrial processes.
Metabolic Explorer's planned facility valued at $31 million (RM100 million) will produce Propanediol from crude glycerine. US firm, GlycosBio, will also house a facility here that is expected to be operational by the end of 2012. At an investment of approximately $24 million (RM78 million) in phase I, it will use its proprietary technology to produce technical grade ethanol using crude glycerine.
With significantly lower costs than what Singapore offers to companies, Malaysia is hoping that BioXcell will give the country an edge over its neighbor in terms of attracting biomanufacturing activities. The park, which will be a plug-and-play facility, has been established largely with biopharma production in mind. "The idea is to help the companies achieve operational efficiency, enable market partnership and accelerate go-to-market designs. It enhances production scale and provides cleaner environment to operate," says Mr Ramli about the park.
The Bio-XCell project, a 161-acre biotechnology park, will be developed in three phases over a span of six years. Leveraging on a public-private partnership to accelerate the development of a biotechnology ecosystem in Malaysia, it will provide an estimated 1.125 million square feet of dedicated, purpose-built space and facilities for biotechnology companies. The park will have standard shell-floor space for clients to rent and fit out according to their needs; CUF, a central utilities complex providing all facilities for biomanufacturing such as steam, cold water and industrial waste management; and a central hub, which will be a multipurpose complex for office operations.
Mr Ramli says inquiries are pouring in from different parts of the world. Argentina and Korea are among the nations that have shown interest in Malaysia. "They have a particular interest in investing in Bio-XCell. The land is full of resources, manpower and provides long-term sustainability. Companies look at certain elements that Bio-XCell is able to provide in abundance, such as proximity to the port, excellent roads and easy transportation that reduces delivery time significantly," he says.
Malaysia, which is implementing phase II of its National Biotechnology Policy, is leveraging on the park to achieve its objectives of bringing science closer to business. With a lot of infrastructure development already taking place at BioXcell, both Mr Ramli and the country are hopeful that Nusajaya will be a biotechnology hub and prosper with more investments pouring in.