Bright prospects in the local healthcare bioeconomy scene

Published by on Dec 05, 2012, 09:52 pm

  1. RM35 million clinical research centre in Sarawak is attracing major multinational pharmaceutical companies to put their new products on trial here
  2. Among interested investors include Novartis, the world's second largest pharmaceutical company
  3. Swiss drugmaker Norvatis to offer internships for microbiologists and chemists

Malaysia is currently in consideration by Novartis, the world's second largest pharmaceutical company, as a potential site for a healthcare biotechnology investment.

In a statement today, Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (Biotech) said Novartis has continued to highlight its partnerhsip with the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) to develop drug compound leads from microbial nature products.

"As a further boost to the local bioeconomy scene, Novartis has broadened the range of their support from drug discovery projects to even potential funding for biomedical companies via their Novartis Venture Funds," it said.

Liow (third from left) being briefed by Dr Zulkifli (third from right) and Dr Abdul Rahim (centre) on the progress of the RM35 million state-of-the art Clinical Research Centre (CRC) located at SGH in Kuching


New clinical research centre

Built adjacent to the Sarawak general hospital, the clinical research center is estimated to complete in July 2013. Health Minister Datuk Seir Liow Tiong Lai said that it has attracted the interest of major multi-national pharmaceutical companies to want to put their new products on trial here.

“We are moving very far ahead in terms of medical research and clinical trials. We (now) have this centre and we (now) also have big companies doing medical researches with local companies," he said.

The centre is capable of handling all four phases of the clinical trials - animal research, human tests, marketing and post marketing surveillance. The centre is also capable of first phase clinical trial, which is the earliest stage of the research.

Alongside the new clinical research centre, Norvatis will provide financial support, identify new natural compounds from materials supplied by SBC, help upgrade the technology base and offer internships for microbiologist and natural product chemists at the Natural Products research unit within the Norvatis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).

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