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Malaysian biotech research gets financial boost

AvantiKumar | Nov. 1, 2010
Cradle Fund collaborates with BiotechCorp.
KUALA LUMPUR, 1 NOVEMBER 2010 -- Malaysian biotechnology research has boosted by Ministry of Finance investment agency Cradle Fund [Cradle].

"The country's institutes of higher learning [IHLs] collaborated recently with Malaysian biotechnology development agency BiotechCorp in a workshop and pitching session for a U-CIP [Cradle Investment Programme] Catalyst pre-seed grand and CIP 500 seed grant," said Cradle senior executive, Kenny Mah.

"This collaboration is one of many by Cradle, which manages grant disbursement for technological innovations and start-ups under the Cradle Investment Programme," said Mah.

Our IHLs are teeming with exciting ideas and innovations, whether in the pre-seed or start-up stage, and our collaboration with BiotechCorp aims to make sure the best ideas and innovations come to our attention for the grants available under the Cradle Investment Programme," he said.

"As the lead development agency for the biotech industry in Malaysia and the central contact point for providing support, facilitation and advisory services, BiotechCorp is in contact with all IHLs involved in biotech research and therefore the ideal partner to help funnel more viable university-oriented applications to our U-CIP Catalyst and CIP 500 grants, as well as collaborate with us for commercialisation," said Mah.

"The workshop and pitching session included an introduction to the Cradle Investment Programme and a workshop on applying for the programme's grants for the representatives of the IHLs and a briefing on the expectations for the pitching session, followed by the actual pitching sessions," he said.

The U-CIP Catalyst pre-seed grant disburses up to RM150,000 (US$48,431) to IHL-based teams in the development of prototypes for technological ideas while the CIP 500 seed grants funds the development of technology start-ups with disbursements of up to RM500,000 (US$161,438).

 National biotechnology policy

By funding ideas and start-ups based on biotechnological research and development, we are heeding the National Biotechnology Policy in promoting biotechnology as part of the main engines of growth for Malaysian economy," said Mah. "Cradle believes that biotechnology is one of the fields with a critical role in wealth creation and in providing for the social well being of Malaysians. Our efforts to fund innovations in biotechnology also fulfill many of the nine main thrusts of the National Biotechnology Policy.

As researchers, we tend to be thoroughly focused on the science and technological aspects of our projects, so it is very beneficial to learn about the commercialisation aspect, and to be exposed to the people who can assist scientists in the commercialisation process, said Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) director of the Institute of Marine Biotechnology,  Professor Dr Mohd Effendy Abd Wahid, who presented two innovations, the intranasal mucosal spray vaccine for livestock animal and media for marine sea microorganism growth.

It is also vital for researchers to improve their awareness on the various funding bodies in Malaysia that they can apply to, as this can make a great difference in their research projects," said start-up firm Biotech Diagnostics' chief technology officer, Professor Dr Ramelah Mohd.

"In addition, these bodies often also provide invaluable services, such as Cradle's mentoring programme, which gives scientists and researchers invaluable advice and guidance on the road to becoming entrepreneurs, said Professor Dr Ramelah, whose pitch was on biodiagnostic kits to be utilised in the laboratory for diagnosis of infectious diseases.


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