Malaysia on track to create bioeconomy hub in Asia-Pacific

Malaysia is on track to create a bioeconomy hub in Asia-Pacific by 2020 through Malaysian Biotechnology Corp (BiotechCorp) initiatives under the National Biotechnology Policy.

Its chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal, said among the initiatives were fostering strategic partnerships with foreign companies and driving global entrepreneurship through action plans such as Bioeconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) under the National Biotechnology Policy.

“Last year, we were invited by the European Union (EU) to be part of its ecosystem. I think it would be a significant development for us because it will allow European companies to have a peek at Malaysia’s (economic) development and its bioeconomy.

“It will also help guide some of the EU firms if they were to invest in Asia,” he said.

Mohd Nazlee said this to reporters after the exchange of collaboration proposal between BiotechCorp and Italy’s Assobiotec here, Tuesday.

Assobiotec was represented by its managing director Leonardo Vigiani.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, witnessed the exchange of collaboration proposal.

Also present were Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, chief executive officer, Datuk Wong Lai Sum, and head of invest in Lombardy, Stefano Nigro.

Assobiotec is the Italian association for the development of biotechnology.

It represents companies and science and technology parks operating in Italy and is involved in several sectors of life sciences.

The exchange of collaboration proposal is part of Malaysia’s Bioeconomy Partnering Day in conjunction with Expo Milano 2015, a global exhibition which attracted over 140 countries, including Malaysia.

Mohd Nazlee said the partnership between BiotechCorp and Assobiotec would provide opportunities for Malaysia and Italy to share best practices, innovative development, processes and technologies of bio-based products.

He said the multi-disciplinary collaborations would open investment opportunities and enhance human capital development for bio-based industry and research communities in Malaysia and Italy.

“This is our first trade and investment mission in Europe and we hope it will open up bigger opportunities in the EU especially between Malaysia and Italy.

“With this partnership, we hope to see more investments between Malaysia and Italy in the next five years,” he said.

For the first four months of 2015, trade with the EU expanded by 2.2 per cent to RM46.91 billion compared with the same period in 2014.

Italy is the third country in Europe that BiotechCorp has formed strategic partnership with, after Belgium and Germany.

“We hope to firm up one or two collaborations in Italy during our meeting in September and we hope to see more by year-end,” he said.

Mohd Nazlee said BiotechCorp was eyeing to collaborate with France and the Uk to further strengthen the bio-based industry.

As of March 2015, the BTP boasted a total of 33 Trigger Projects that were expected to generate a total gross national income of RM5 billion in 2020, provide 19,855 job opportunities and secure cumulative investments of RM16 billion by 2020.

The Bioeconomy Partnering Day is set to attract foreign direct investments in biotechnology from European companies and to enlighten European biotechnology players that Malaysia has its own biotechnology initiatives.

The programme includes business-matching meetings and networking sessions with relevant chambers and government authorities.

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