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Malaysia emerging as ASEAN’s biotech hub

5 July 2015 - Since the launch of the National Biotechnology Policy in 2005, Malaysia has been actively involved in capacity building initiatives in support of its goal of becoming the regional hub for biopharma investments.

The country is ranked fourth globally for Biotech Enterprise Support in the Scientific American Report and second in ASEAN for intellectual property protection in the IMD World Competitiveness Index Yearbook. 

Malaysia’s lead agency for biotechnology, the Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), opened its first office in San Francisco last month to provide assistance to US companies that are looking at a regional hub in Southeast Asia.

BiotechCorp said it is aiming to be a strategic partner of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in developing the biotechnology industry. With a population of over 600 million population, the pharmaceutical market demand in the region reached $21.3 billion in 2014.

It offers attractive tax incentives for companies that qualify under the BioNexus status, awarded to qualified international and Malaysian biotechnology companies. 
"We are committed to providing the necessary assistance and facilitation to push Malaysia's bioeconomy agenda and to keep the country competitive, innovative, and prosperous,” said Deputy Secretary General (Science) of the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI), Dr. Zulkifli bin Mohamed Hashim. “We want Malaysia to be the gateway for the ASEAN market and to create a supportive, holistic, and integrated environment for bioeconomy to flourish in the region.”  
Hashim is among the members of the Malaysian delegation of government leaders, industry players and executives from funding institutions who attended the recent BIO International Convention 2015 held in the US. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) are also among the various government agencies in attendance to showcase the government’s support for biotechnology enterprises.

During the conference, Malaysia also launched the first Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Special Training (BeST) in the US, a specialized career-coaching program designed to retain talent by connecting with Malaysian students studying in the US.

BiotechCorp also partnered with Larta Institute in Los Angeles to mentor Malaysian companies bringing in their products to the US and establish strategic partnerships to increase their product value.

"As one of the 12 mega biodiversity countries globally, Malaysia's biodiversity and people diversity act as the encouragement for drug discovery and development programs to be undertaken in Malaysia. This is complemented by our comprehensive value chain in biotechnology that has attracted strong foreign players into our market," said BiotechCorp Chief Operating Officer, Razwin Sulairee Hasnan Termizi.

Malaysia’s pro-patent environment lead to the increase of up to 20 percent of patent application in Malaysia since 2014. It is currently offering more opportunities to investors through the availability of a full value chain for their businesses.
Source : Enterprise Innovation