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Five Collaborations Worth Over RM3 Billion Sealed At BIO Boston

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BOSTON, June 20 (Bernama) -- Five collaborations and partnerships between Malaysian and international biotechnology firms with investments worth over RM3 billion were sealed during the BIO Boston on Tuesday.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, said the investments were expected to come in the next three to five years.
Ongkili, who is leading an 80-member delegation to BIO International Convention-BIO Boston 2012, said the agreements showed that the government's initiatives to encourage the commercialisation activities of this industry had bear fruit.
"Many companies have expressed interest to work with our BioNexus companies.
"Some are looking for partners, while others are just meeting with us to know about incentive packages and assistance.
"They want to ensure that if they were to be located in Malaysia, either in manufacturing, research and development and other programmes, it can be realised," he told Malaysian journalists after launching the Malaysian Pavilion at the BIO Boston 2012 here.
One of collaboration agreements is between Terengganu state government, Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (BiotechCorp), East Coast Economic Region Development Centre and GEVO Inc to set up a plant in Kertih to produce carbohydrates and isobutanol from woody biomass with an estimated investment of RM1.65 billion.
Another involved a joint clinical trial and licence and distribution agreement between Chemical Co of Malaysia Bhd's unit, Duopharma (M) Sdn Bhd, with South Korea's PanGen Biotech Inc to pioneer clinical trial of Erythropoietin (EPO) to treat end-stage renal failure patients.
EPO's role is to increase red blood cells.
The clinical trial, which will take a year, will eventually see the Duopharma obtaining commercialisation rights for product marketing and distribution in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
Ongkili said apart from that, two foreign companies involved in the lobster aquaculture in Sabah with investment of between RM1 billion and RM2 billion were given BioNexus status.
Meanwhile, BiotechCorp chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal, said with economic corridors onboard, the agency planned to build innovation park or biotechnology park in every corridor as its future strategy to woo more foreign investors.
"Apart from these economic corridors having their own infrastructure in place, the agency would also assist them in recognising their own niche and strengths to woo these investors," he said, citing the Bio Polymer Park in Kertih, Terengganu as an example.
"We will also focus on BioXCell this year. We have been talking with a few companies in biopharmaceuticals and there's a possibility to attract them into investing in BioXCell. Our target is RM3 billion for this year and next year," Nazlee said.
BioXCell, a biotech park in the 32.37-hectare Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, is being developed by Malaysian BioXCell Sdn Bhd.
UEM Land Holdings Bhd holds 40 per cent equity in Malaysian BioXCell and BiotechCorp 60 per cent.

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