Bridging the Role of Commercialisation in Biotechnology

Taylor’s University, in collaboration with the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC), organises the first series of “Biotech in Action” for researchers and industry players

In an effort to strengthen Malaysia’s biotechnology sector through collaboration and strong alliances among scientists, academia, industry players, policymakers, economists, regulators, lawyers, farmers and investors, Taylor’s University, in collaboration with the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC), established a platform called “Biotech in Action”, launched by Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Navaratnam, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Taylor’ University at the Lakeside Campus recently.

Universities and laboratories are ideal grounds for biotechnology and Malaysia has a strong commitment to develop the field into a vibrant engine for economic growth. However, the supply chain to bring laboratory work to the marketplace is an arduous process which not only involves basic translational research, but includes a deep understanding of market needs, knowledge and commercialisation, regulations, intellectual property rights and public understanding of biotechnology.

According to Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr. Navaratnam, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Taylor’s University, “Taking products to the market requires good business practice and to make a difference, whether to serve the public good or to generate revenue, biotechnology must be synonymous with commercialisation.”

“To do this, we need to leverage on our strengths and create a nexus that will link all players together where issues can be tackled and collaboration can be forged. This is the role “Biotech in Action” aims to play,” he continued.

The inaugural seminar under the “Biotech in Action” platform themed “Drug Discovery, Development and Commercialisation”, which was held on the same day featured speakers from Aurigene Discovery Technologies Ltd., a company based in India and Malaysia involved in Drug Discovery collaborations with pharmaceutical companies of various scales. A panel session to discuss funding drug discovery research saw speakers from Bio paradigm Ventures and Xeraya Capital, venture capital companies that provide financial support for startups in Life Sciences.

“As a researcher, the seminar provided an ideal platform to learn about the needs, challenges and expectations of venture capitalist companies on the commercialisation of products. Their participation helped highlight the necessary requirements to turn drug discoveries into successful everyday products,” said Jamie Kok Mei Lin, Lecturer in the School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University.

For Dr. Yap Wei Hsum, Lecturer, School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University, “Biotechnology feeds, fuels and heals the world through various applications. What is more interesting is that it provides sustainable solutions that reduce the environmental footprints. I was pleased to learn how universities and higher learning institutions are able to contribute and work with industry players in translating research from bench top to bedside.”

Biotechnology is a word which has evolved and gave rise to new words such as bioeconomy, biosafety, biosecurity, biocommunication and biodiplomacy. In order to explore further, a series of workshops, forum, dialogues and programmes will be organised under this banner by Taylor’s University and the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC), with other relevant institutes and agencies throughout the year.