KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is set to "sell" its Bio-Xcell initiative and biotechnology advantages to biotechnology movers and shakers attending the world's largest biotechnology gathering, BIO International Convention in Chicago (BIO Chicago 2010), early next month.
The 70-member delegation, with extensive biotechnology background, will "rub shoulders" with Who's Who in the biotechnology industry to convince them on the biotechnology prospects available in Malaysia.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili told Bernama Malaysia would make a global launch of Bio-XCell initiative at the BIO Chicago to promote rapid commercialisation of biotechnology in the country.
A premier biotechnology ecosystem, Bio-Xcell, at Southern Industrial and Logistics Cluster (SiLC) in Nusajaya, Johor, is being developed on a 60:40 joint-venture basis between Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and UEM Land Bhd.
Bio-XCell will comprise the development of a supportive biotechnology ecosystem around targeted strategic anchor tenants to undertake operations geared towards expediting the industry's growth.
Dr Maximus said special announcements involving major foreign partners secured recently by BiotechCorp and Bio-XCell in industrial and healthcare biotechnology areas would be disclosed at the convention.
The foreign partners are expected to begin operations in Malaysia by 2012, he said.
Dr Maximus, who will be in Chicago to provide an indepth perspective on Malaysia's biotechnology industry, said the convention would be an avenue for Malaysia to find and form strategic partnerships with technology-right companies to facilitate commercialising the areas Malaysia has comparative advantages.
He said it was important for Malaysia to take appropriate measures to rope in suitable partners for commercialisation of biotechnology undertakings as Malaysia was now coming to the "Lab to Market Phase" (2011-2015).
"We are especially keen to send an unequivocal message to qualified US companies of Malaysia's very serious commitment to partner with them in expediting our development and commercialisation in the areas of industrial biotechnology and green technology initiatives," he said.
Dr Maximus said the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at BIO Chicago reflected the continuous importance of biotechnology in the national economic agenda particularly as a source of economic growth, sustainability and social well-being.
He also said the growing number of BioNexus companies, currently at 158, and investments of about RM1.54 billion in biotechnology todate are testimony of an active and effective involvement of BiotechCorp in charge of facilitating the country's biotechnology industry in the annual BIO International Convention.
This is the sixth time BiotechCorp is participating in the BIO International Convention.
BiotechCorp first participated in Philadelphia in 2005, followed by Chicago in 2006, Boston (2007), San Diego (2008) and Atlanta (2009).
On his expectations from the Chicago mission, Dr Maximus said most important was to generate quality partnerships with global US companies to gain immediate and medium-term commercialisation results and outcomes for Malaysian biotechnology industry.
Additionally, he said, Malaysia's efforts at BIO Chicago was a follow-up to the recent successful visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the United States in strengthening Malaysia-US economic and business collaborations.
"Specific to the biotechnology sector, we would like to strengthen partnerships with very tangible outcomes between the US and Malaysian biotechnology companies," he added. - BERNAMA