Malaysia, which started making a concerted effort to develop its biotechnology sector in 2005, ahead of its regional peers, is going all out to attract foreign investments and collaborations in the sector.
It is mobilising all its agencies to do so, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, who led an 80-member delegation to the world's biggest annual gathering of biotechnology experts - Bio International Convention (BIO) - held here this week.
Maximus witnessed five agreements at BIO that are expected to boost the Malaysian sector.
The minister said he is waiting for about eight other companies from the US and Europe to firm up their investment plans for Malaysia.
He expects the government to announce at least six more entry point projects in either July or August. These will focus on industrial, medical and agricultural areas of biotechnology.
"We have developed the strategic entry point programmes for the Malaysian Bioeconomy Initiative which we hope will be rolled out by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak soon, which will bring a host of opportunities for both investment and partnering," he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Bhd (BiotechCorp) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), will for the first time ever embark on a joint road trip in the US with the sole mission of attracting more biotechnology-related investments into Malaysia.
This will be done once the BIO conference is over. The two agencies are scheduled to meet about seven companies in four cities, including Houston, Chicago and New York.
These companies are in businesses that relate to vaccine, orthopedic implants and life sciences, said Jaswant Singh, Mida's director in charge of the life sciences industry division.