BiotechCorp, Universiti Malaysia Pahang and Evolva collaborate to establish centre of excellence for Malaysian Natural Products
Focus on Biosynthesis of High Value Indigenous Malaysian Natural Products
Reinach, Switzerland 4 June 2014 — Evolva Holding SA (SIX: EVE) announced that it will collaborate with Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) to establish a scientific Centre of Excellence for natural products from Malaysia as part of the Flavor and Fragrance Cluster in the state of Pahang.
The Centre of Excellence, which is being facilitated by the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), under Malaysia’s flagship Bioeconomy Transformation Programme, Bio-Accelerators for Technology Development and Innovation, will focus on the development of natural compounds using Evolva’s yeast fermentation production platform. The goal is to create a new paradigm in the sustainable production of Malaysia’s high value indigenous natural products.
“Malaysia has abundant natural products with high potential to be developed into high purity as well as active ingredients for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and other high-end industries. With Evolva’s unique platform and UMP’s research strength, the Centre is impetus in our efforts to establish the links between the science knowledge base and the business community. This will create value for other industries with significant economic opportunities to benefit Malaysia’s Bioeconomy agenda,” said BiotechCorp’s Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal.
The first programme at the Centre will focus on the production of agarwood fragrances via yeast fermentation. The development of a range of agarwood products by fermentation will allow Malaysia to significantly widen the use of agarwood worldwide, and will complement the existing traditional production approaches.
UMP Vice Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Daing Nasir Ibrahim said, “It is a privilege and honor to be able to collaborate with our two esteemed partners in the establishment of the Centre of Excellence. Our capacity building in scientific facilities and academic talents in the last two years has positioned UMP to play a meaningful role in this truly interesting partnership venture”.
Agarwood of the Aquilaria and Gyrinops variety has been prized for centuries by incense and perfume makers, and traditional medicine practitioners. More recently, agarwood has been designated as an endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Despite conservation measures and concerted efforts to grow Aquilaria and Gyrinops in tree nurseries and organic tree farms, these evergreens are rapidly vanishing from forests due to high demand.
According to data collected by the Wild Trade Monitoring Network, the global supply of wild agarwood could vanish from the planet in less than two years.
Chief Executive Officer of Evolva, Neil Goldsmith said, “We are delighted to participate in this venture in Malaysia and would like to commend the efforts of BiotechCorp for facilitating this collaboration. We are looking forward to working with the passionate and talented researchers at UMP to determine if agarwood compounds might be amenable to production via biosynthesis and yeast fermentation. If successful, this Centre’s global and multi-disciplinary efforts will produce both positive economic and environmental benefits for us all.”