Exciting times ahead for biomedical sector in Malaysia

PHILADELPHIA: Exciting times are ahead for Malaysia when one of the top Asian biopharmaceutical giants Biocon Ltd begins operations in the country next year.

Malaysia Biotechnology Corp (Biotech Corp) biomedical section senior vice-president Jay Padasian said it had taken about two years to convince the company to set up its integrated insulin plant in Malaysia.

“If you look at some of the interviews conducted with Biocon’s founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, she said there was an intensive engagement by Malaysia to get the company into the country,” said Padasian when met on the sidelines of the Bio International Convention here.

The almost-completed Biocon integrated insulin plant is located at a sprawling 40acre facility in Nusajaya, Johor.

It is the largest insulin plant in Asia, said Padasian.

Biocon has invested more than US$160mil (RM592mil) to set up the plant and this is the largest foreign investment in Malaysia’s biomedical sector.

According to Padasian, the idea to get a big biopharmaceutical player into the country was mooted in 2008.

“The decision was made at a time when we realised that to be seen as an industry player we need to have a big company willing to come to Malaysia to do its activities," said Padasian.

He added getting a big company like Biocon into the country was a crucial element required to build a domestic biomedical industry.

“It is about having a large player because you have to get a critical mass of people trained in the area,” Padasian pointed out.

The setting up of the facility has created a number of job opportunities for Malaysians, especially young graduates from related disciplines.

Padasian said Biotech Corp was courting foreign businesses to invest in Malaysia’s biotechnology industry in various ways and one of them was by attending events such as the convention.

He said with Biocon’s activities in the country, Malaysia would be able to show to the world that it is capable of going into high-end biomedical production.

“Success builds success.When people see that Biocon can do it, they will start engaging us too,” he said.

Padasian added Biocon’s presence would make it easier to promote and sell Malaysia as a biotechnology hub.

The three-day event saw global industry players promoting their businesses as well as networking.

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