Ongkili: "Many companies have expressed interest to work with our BioNexus companies."
BOSTON: 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 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 started to 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," Ongkili told Malaysian journalists after launching the Malaysian pavilion at the event.
One of the agreements is between the Terengganu 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.
Another involves a joint clinical trial and licence and distribution agreement between Chemical Co of Malaysia Berhad's unit, Duopharma (M) Sdn. Bhd., with South Korea's PanGen Biotech Inc to pioneer the clinical trial of Erythropoietin (EPO) to treat end-stage renal failure patients.
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 that apart from that, two foreign companies involved in lobster aquaculture in Sabah with investment of between RM1 billion and RM2 billion were given BioNexus status.
BiotechCorp chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal, said that with economic corridors onboard, the agency planned to build an innovation park or a biotechnology park in every corridor 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, Nazlee said.
BioXCell, a biotech park in the 32.37-hectare Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, is being developed by Malaysian BioXCell Sdn. Bhd. -- Bernama