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Monday, November 26, 2007

Big plans for nanotechnology

MALAYSIA'S biotechnology sector will rope in nanotechnology to add to the significant strides it has made in medical research and agriculture.

Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Sdn Bhd (Biotech Corp) chief executive officer Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said Malaysian universities and research agencies have been strong in developing vaccines and improving oil palm yield for the past 100 years.

"Now we have identified nanotechnology and together with an international partner, we can elevate the industry to a higher level.

"We will launch a nanotechnology acquisition platform during BioMalaysia 2007," Iskandar told Business Times in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

BioMalaysia 2007 is a gathering of some of the world's top biotechnology players starting tomorrow and is set to attract up to 8,000 visitors and conference delegates.

The fifth in its series, BioMalaysia 2007 is a conference incorporated under the National Innovation Conference and Exhibition which will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tomorrow.

Iskandar said that for the past several decades nanotechnology, an emerging technology which can repair damaged body tissues and keep clothes stain free, has been present in Malaysia's biotechnology sector.

"We are now taking nanotechnology to another level to create a multiplier effect and spur growth of biotechnology companies and trickle down to related industries and the economy.

"We are making nanotechnology available to our biotechnology firms and expedite licensing procedures and nurture the industry together with our international partners," he said.

Malaysia wants to become a regional biotechnology hub to get a slice of the lucrative market.

The world's 5,000 biotech firms are forecast to make over US$1 trillion (RM3.37 trillion) in revenue by 2015.

By New Straits Times (by Zaidi Isham Ismail)

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