Farmers and breeders, whether for crops, livestock or aquaculture, always strive to maximise yield and productivity. In order to do so, breeders must be able to understand, choose and design breeding material/stock with desirable traits such as growth, yield, colour, drought resistance etc. Traditionally, breeders relied on physical selection of traits (phenotypic selection). This is time-consuming and costly as the desired traits can only be assessed at maturity, which may not garner the anticipated result.
Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is an alternative biotechnological tool that provides substantial benefits in increasing the selection efficiency by enabling breeders to:
- Conduct early selection and eliminate the guesswork that goes into breeding as the data obtained from genotyping will identify plants/animals that have the desired trait (upon screening).
- Perform genotyping without destroying the plant or animal as minimal DNA is required.
- Save on resources such as manpower, land and developmental costs.
- High-throughput DNA extraction
- DNA fingerprinting (SSR/SNP)
- Genotyping (SSR/SNP)
- Discovery & validation of molecular markers (SSR/SNP)
- Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) & Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB)
- Consultations on marker usage in agricultural breeding & conservation
The emphasis is to undertake genotyping work in the following sectors:
- Crops (oil palm, coconut, paddy, timber & fruits)
- Aquaculture (shrimp & fish)
- Livestock (goat & cattle)
Commercial applications and formulations based on natural products (i.e. herbs, essential oils and seed oils) are becoming the cornerstone of global commerce especially for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries. In order to harness high purity active components from natural products in the desired form, the use of targeted cutting-edge technologies are necessary.
Supercritical Fluid (SCF) technology is one such technology where carbon dioxide (CO2) is used as the extraction media to obtain high quality and standardised extracts. Among the advantages of using supercritical CO2 are high extraction yields, high product quality, as well as complete separation of solvent from extracts.
The Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have established the Supercritical Fluid Centre (SFC) located at UPM as a one-stop service centre to undertake commercial extraction and developmental activities using supercritical technology.
- Pre-treatment of raw material
- Extraction of essential oil
- Separation of key active components
- Formation of micron sized particles
- Analysis and validation
Antibody microarrays are measurement devices used in biomedical research applications to determine the presence and/or amount of proteins in biological samples such as blood and serum. This technology lies in the combination of a particular disease-specific biochip and its associated disease-specific software to read the reacted biochips.
Potential applications of the DotScan™ technology includes biomarker discovery, disease diagnosis, characterisation of signalling and protein pathways, drug target discovery etc. For clinical research, the technology could diagnose diseases such as haematological malignancies and other cancers and melanoma. The greatest demand for antibody microarrays is likely to be in basic research where scientists looking at biological systems at the molecular level need to identify large groups of interactions simultaneously. Given the promising and growing research undertaken in research institutes and universities in Malaysia, there is ample possibility for licensing deals.
The potential areas clients would like to develop proof of concept are as below:
- Biomarker discovery
- Disease diagnosis
- Drug target discovery
- Drug response profiling
- Clinical research: haematological malignancies and cancer
- Diagnosis of leukaemia
- Research Universities/Institutes to develop proof of concepts for diagnostic tools and disease diagnosis
- Companies interested in taking up the commercial application for the diagnosis of leukaemia
- Medical device/ In-Vitro Diagnostic manufacturers
BiotechCorp has a worldwide exclusive license for the manufacture of nanoparticles and development of nanotechnology-related applications such as drug delivery systems and diagnostics in the non-oncology field. To further develop the nanotechnology platform, BiotechCorp is collaborating with the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for developing specific applications based on the licensed technology.
The technology platform acquired allows for the design and synthesis of multifunctional inorganic nanoparticles of specified sizes, as well as conjugation with specific biomolecules and antibodies for various applications. With the combined development of biology, physics and chemistry of nanoparticles, new therapeutic approaches can be developed today via the generation of physical or chemical reactions controlled by external activation of nanoparticle such as:
- NanoMag: Activation by a magnetic field (e.g. MRI)
- NanoPDT: Activation by laser/light
From the applications developed, USM is able to produce the following nanoparticles for interested clients:
- Gold nanoparticles of sizes ranging from 10-150 nm
- Iron oxide nanoparticles of sizes ranging from 5-30 nm
- Custom biomolecule conjugation for gold and iron oxide nanoparticles:
- Mouse anti-human IgG4 (monoclonal)
- Mouse anti-human IgG (monoclonal)/human IgG
- Goat anti-human IgM/ human IgM
- Goat anti-human IgG (polyclonal)
- Goat anti-human IgA (polyclonal)
- Recombinant protein BmR1
- Recombinant protein Tg5c
- Silica nanoparticles (for drug delivery)
- Diagnostic companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Skincare manufactures
- Biotechnology companies
- Plantation companies
- Research institutions
- Regional and international partners