Updated on 30 October 2012
India-based Biocon, one of the largest biotechnology companies in Asia, invested $164.6 million (RM500 million) in Bio-XCell, as did American-based company Glycos Biotechnology with $15 million (RM46 million) and French biotechnology company, Metabolic Explorer with $32.9 million (RM100 million). Another India-based company, Strides Arcolab, invested $26 million (RM80 million) in what is soon to be Asia's largest R&D hub.
What are the value additions that Malaysia is providing to international clients that are looking to enter into Asia market?
Malaysia possesses innumerable factors that in collaboration with respective parties will be able to create biotechnology products of high value that meet local and international demand. In agricultural biotechnology, we focus on natural products discovery and commercialization, aquaculture, crop technology and livestock.
Malaysia's unique biodiversity and abundant natural resources offers competitive advantages that are being capitalized on for the sector focus development. Our country is one of the 12 mega-diverse countries in the world and our forests are host to an estimated 15,000 flowering plant species and 185,000 animal species, accounting for nine percent of the world's total respectively.
In healthcare biotechnology, the focus areas are contract research organization (CROs), contract manufacturing (CMO), drug discovery and drug delivery, bioinformatics, therapeutics, medical device and diagnostics and biopharmaceutical. Approximately 72 manufacturers in Malaysia are licensed by the drugs control authorities (DCA), around 30 are licensed to manufacture prescription medicines, while the rest produce over-the-counter medicines. Some 140 manufacturers are licensed to produce traditional and herbal Medicine in Malaysia. Malaysia has the potential to be the engine that drives biotechnology in areas of biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, contract manufacturing, active pharmaceutical ingredients, clinical trials and other subsectors in the industrial and agricultural biotechnology.
In Industrial biotechnology, biocatalyst, biopolymer, bioremediation, biofuel and fine and specialty chemicals remain our focus. Easy access to abundance of palm oil biomass, puts our investors at a strategic advantage. With 80 million tons of solid oil palm biomass to be tapped, Malaysia is capable of becoming a centralized region of biomass-based industries for higher-value applications such as pellets, biofuels, and biobased chemicals.
Malaysia is fast becoming the regional hub for industrial biotechnology, which is highly dependent on access to biomass and tropical raw materials as its feedstock. In addition, Malaysia now also has the potential to become the pioneer in the production of green essential amino acids (EAA), L-methionine. This new development will become a strategic element to the entire bio economy ecosystem in Malaysia that would help create a whole new mindset based on bio economy or green chemistry, which is friendlier to the environment, minimizes waste, reduces energy consumption and utilizes renewable resources as feedstock.