YBhg Dato’ Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal, CEO of BiotechCorp
Invigorating our economy with bio-based businesses will be vital to create jobs and economic growth. Keeping that vision in mind, to innovate and value-add our biological resources is the key enabler at building an ecosystem that will nurture the growth of bio-based industries.
The theme for BioMalaysia 2016, “Value Adding Our Economy Through Bio-based Technologies”, reflects that vision and marks the latest milestone in our effort towards making that transition. Currently in its 14th edition, I am optimistic that the platform will continue to provide researchers, industry leaders, and decision makers an important avenue to present their latest findings and to communicate all the important developments in the bio-based domain.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), and the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) are once again proud to host BioMalaysia & Asia Pacific Bioeconomy Exhibition 2016. The event, to be held from 31st May to 2nd June also incorporate the growing importance of a regional bio-based economy and is set to be an ideal stage for meetings of industry professionals from the local, regional and international scene. With over 250 exhibition booths, this time was designed to maximize opportunities for networking for both academic and corporate biotechnology communities, all in the company of over 10,000 trade visitors that is expected to participate throughout the entire event.
Apart from the customary exhibition, technology pitching and business matching activities, one of the main highlights we have this year is the Bioeconomy Innovation Awards (BIA). For the first time, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and BiotechCorp will award outstanding scientists, researchers and industry leaders in their respective fields of expertise. Ever since 2008, we have been consistently acknowledging and recognising champions in the bio-based sector, yet the novelty of the BIA lies in its heavy focus for matching competition participants with prospective business partners and investors.
To elaborate further, the BIA is specifically aimed at the participation of universities, research institutions and private biotech companies that have, or is currently developing outstanding and innovative bio-based solutions to address technical, social and environmental challenges facing society today. The objective of the award would be to encourage and inspire innovation in bio-based fields, to recognize individuals and organisational achievements in developing new ideas and innovations, to provide a platform for commercialisation, and to strengthen networking between academia, industries and government agencies.
Participation in the BIA confers various advantages to both individuals and their institutions. A clear cut benefit is having increased exposure where participants will gain opportunity to pitch their innovations directly to the industry. Apart from that, winners of the BIA will satisfy prerequisites that will enable them to participate in international-level platforms. It is all about gaining exposure. Malaysia has a great pool of talents, and we need to help turn “life changing ideas” from them into great commercial opportunities. Technology companies, start-ups and university spin-off can directly impact and transform the economics of any given industry. A successful bioeconomy is to be based on a steady flow of innovative bio-based products and services. In that manner, our universities play a central role to bring products to the market. Going beyond BIA, BiotechCorp will continue to facilitate and assist all entries to match their technologies with potential business partners and financial investors.
The Academy of Sciences Malaysia, being our key partner for the BIA has been most instrumental into helping us to deliver the award. In addition to that, BIA 2016 has also received recognition from the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) as a venue for universities to receive the Malaysia Research Assessment (MyRA) points for its achievements in Research, Development, and Commercialisation (R&D&C). BiotechCorp will continue to engage in more such impactful strategy with other institutions to acknowledge and honour individuals who have made significant contributions in the bio-based sector, and above all positioning BioMalaysia as the premier bio-based meeting destination for the region.
We recognise that we are not alone in this endeavor and owe much of our success to the generous support of our corporate sponsors. Each year, we rely on the generosity of our sponsors in helping us to make BioMalaysia better and more outreaching. Without their contributions of time, financials, and services, it would be difficult to maintain the quality of the services and events that we provide to our stakeholders. As we continue to champion the bio-based sector, corporate sponsorships for BioMalaysia have not fade over the years, even in times of economic uncertainty. Now, more than ever, advocates for biotechnology are lending its resources to collectively increase visibility, enhance existing business relationships, and fosters new collaborations.
Regardless of the type of bio-based companies – biomedical, bioindustrial, agriculture, or even technology financiers, the BioMalaysia platform has provided an ever-growing range of benefits for sponsoring partners. A short mention of the notable sponsors we have this year including CJ Bio Malaysia, Arkema Malaysia, Biocon Malaysia, Malaysia Debt Venture (MDV), BioAlpha, and Green Rubber.
Both CJ Bio Malaysia and Arkema Malaysia are two Joint Ventures (JV) companies created from the collaboration between CJ CheilJedang of Korea, and Arkema France SA of France. These two companies are currently leading the project to produce bio-methionine, the first of its kind in the world that is located in Kertih Biopolymer Park, Terengganu. As per early 2015, the facility has created employment for 320 Malaysians, with 42 trained overseas at CJ’s subsidiary in Indonesia and Arkema’s plant in Houston, Texas. On the other hand, Biocon Malaysia is involved in the setting of its first overseas bio-pharma manufacturing and research facility located at Bio-XCell, Johor. Upon completion, this facility will be the largest integrated insulins production plant in Asia. With an investment of over USD 160 million, the Biocon project was one of the largest foreign investment to be secured in the bio-pharma sector in the country.
On the local front, we have the support of MDV and BioAlpha. Malaysia Debt Venture (MDV) is one of the country’s leading technology financier that is committed to leapfrog Malaysia into the information and knowledge economy by providing a funding infrastructure that will support industry’s research, development and commercialisation activities. Whereas BioAlpha is a BioNexus status company that specialises in research & development of health formulations, the company through its subsidiaries is also the first Malaysian herbal supplements player to be in control of its full supply chain; from R&D to raw materials farming and manufacturing, to marketing and distribution. Currently, its subsidiary BioAlpha International is in direct contract farming arrangement with local farmers within an area known as the Herbal Integrated Cluster Development in the Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER), while the other subsidiary, BioAlpha (Johor Herbal), is growing herbs in a specialised farming zone known as the Bio Desaru Organic Food Valley in Johor.
I would also like to highlight Green Rubber, a green technology company with its own patented processes to devulcanise used rubber and to turn that into new products. That means there is now an environmentally friendly alternative to the vexing issue of what to do with waste tyres. At this time of writing, Green Rubber Malaysia is developing its new 25,000 tonne per annum factory facilities in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, in Putra Industrial Park. The endorsement given by Green Rubber to BioMalaysia signals the growing relevance of a sustainable bio-based economy, which brings with it societal, environmental and economic advantages. For more information on Green Rubber, kindly visit http://www.greenrubbergroup.com/.
Last but not least, I was made to understand that this May issue of Petri Dish too will feature substantially on BioMalaysia and Asia Pacific Bioeconomy Exhibition 2016, with all the latest happenings and development. Do check out the wrap-around design. Along with that, I would like to thank the supporting partners for their endorsement, this include MATRADE, MOHE, Bio-Based World, Bio Global Events, BioLab Asia, and our media partners, including The Petri Dish, ResearchSEA, The Business Year, BioSpectrum, Bio-Based World News, Green Plus, and Oxford Business Group.
All these innovative organisations are amongst our biggest assets, and our big-time supporters that reflect the wider interest of the bio-based community, and BiotechCorp is exceptionally grateful for the generous and continuous support provided by them. Every sponsorship and support we receive helps to increase exposure, to building brands and through them, we could certainly add value to enrich the event through more programmes, networking activities, presentations, symposiums, and other special events. Moving forward, we are dedicated to advancing these long-term, integrated, and mutually beneficial strategic alliances and synergy for the betterment of all.