Roadshow planned for Nusajaya biotech park

NUSAJAYA: UEM Land Holdings Bhd will work with Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Bhd (BiotechCorp) to promote its biotech park project, BioXCell, to foreign investors this year.

UEM Land strategic marketing and corporate communications director Zulkifli Tahmali said both parties would go to Chicago, Melbourne and Queensland to do the promotion.

“We will also go to India as it is one of the huge markets for biotech products in the world,’’ he said in an interview with StarBiz recently.

He added that UEM Land and BiotechCorp would also target European companies to set up operations at the park and use it as a gateway to enter Asian markets.

Zulkifli said work on the park would start soon and the first facility was expected to be completed by year-end and start operations in early 2011.

BioXCell, which occupies a 32.37ha site, is part of the Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters (SiLC) spanning 526.10ha that is being developed by UEM Land as a clean and green, managed industrial park in Nusajaya, Johor.

It is in a unique position as there is no other biotech park being developed on a joint-venture basis between a property developer and BiotechCorp, the agency responsible for developing biotech industry in Malaysia.

Zulkifli said the company would provide the land and infrastructure for BioXCell while BiotechCorp would provide the expertise, marketing and regulation, and offer incentives to investors.

“We are hoping to attract at least three major biotech companies, probably from the United States and Europe, to be the major clients at the park,’’ he said.

Zulkifli said UEM Land and BiotechCorp would jointly manage the park via a joint-venture (JV) company.

He said the JV company would run BioXCell like biotech parks in the United States where the operators offer investors guidance and work closely with them on the industry’s best practices.

The JV company will have its own board of directors, source its own funding and attract investors to the biotech park. Meanwhile, UEM Land will focus on developing and managing the project and its facilities.

Zulkifli said the JV company would build and lease the buildings in BioXCell to investors.

He said the “standard shell scheme” buildings would have a minimum 0.4 hectare plot to cater for mid-sized manufacturers while the customised buildings were for large companies.

He said that under the BioXCell scheme, manufacturers could come in, put up their equipment and lease the properties on a mid or long-term basis.

Zulkifli said a unique feature of the park would be the shared centre where biotech companies could share facilities like equipment, logistics and administrative and secretarial services.

“Companies can then focus on their core activities such as R&D, clinical studies and manufacturing instead of the non-core activities,’’ he said.

He said BioXCell would benefit from its close proximity to Singapore because of the republic’s advanced biotech industry.

He said it would also gain from SiLC’s excellent connectivity to the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Johor Port, Senai Airport, North-South Expressway and Singapore’s Port of Singapore, Jurong Port and Changi Airport.

He added that Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Johor campus, which is strong in life sciences, offered a ready pool of human capital.

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