Updated on 14 August 2012
Can Malaysia pull off a growth similar to that of South Korea in this decade?
Rich in natural resources, Malaysia is beefing up its strategies to attract investments into the country. If analysts are to be believed, this South East Asian country has the potential to make its investors happy, and barring major unforeseen developments, there is every reason to believe that it can repeat a growth story like that of South Korea in the next ten years.
Pushing its bioeconomy agenda, Malaysian government has intensified national efforts to maximize economic benefits for the biotechnology ecosystem. Mr Ganesh Kishore, managing director at Burrill & Company Venture Group, says the political leadership of Malaysia and its business institutions have recognized the importance of innovation and that they are working to ensure that a decent portion of the country's GDP be based on bioindustries in a not too distant future.
"While its abundant natural resources will continue to serve the country well, deployment of innovation in this space as well as frontier areas of agriculture, food and nutrition, environment, healthcare, renewable energy and materials will make the country even more competitive and a player of consequence at the global level," he adds.
According to Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (BiotechCorp), the prime agency that drives biotech industry in Malaysia, the Malaysian Bioeconomy Initiative is expected to generate 20,000 job opportunities by 2020. The country is also looking at a variety of areas under biotechnology to drive growth.
A US-based renewable chemicals and biofuel company, Gevo, has decided to start a cellulosic biomass isobutanol facility in Malaysia after a joint consent from Malaysian government's East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERD), BiotechCorp and the state government of Terengganu. The collaboration offers a diversified feedstock, organized approach and opportunity to develop an economically advantaged business plan to meet this expanding market.
Gevo is converting existing ethanol plants into biorefineries to make renewable building block products for the chemical and fuel industries. The company plans to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits.In another recent initiative, Malaysian chemical company Duopharma is exploring potentials in biosimilars and has tied up with Korea's PanGen Biotech for clinical trial of Erythropoietin (EPO) to treat end-stage renal failure patients. This will propel Duopharma to compete for high value-added partnership projects in the commercialization of biosimilars, while eliminating the need to invest in very expensive clinical trials and long gestation periods to deliver the product to the market.