Biotechnology is a discipline that combines genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry or cell biology with technologies such as chemical engineering, information technology and to a certain extent robotics and nanotechnology. It often encompasses the use of living organisms to produce food, drugs and industrial products. On the other hand, healthcare biotechnology is a dedicated area of biotechnology, of which technologies are developed and used to treat human diseases and advance human health. The emergence of new diseases, drug resistances and lifestyle changes has certainly warranted the quest for new and improved treatment modalities, medical procedures and preventative strategies. Healthcare biotechnology is therefore a dynamic sector with tremendous potential in advancing human health, improving the socio-economic status as well as a source of bio-economy and wealth creation for Malaysia.
Under NBP’s Health Biotechnology thrusts, the government aspires to capitalise on Malaysia’s mega biodiversity and natural resources to search for new drugs and to further improve and develop local evidence-based herbal medicines. The potential of bio-generics market is also recognised and earmarked as an important area in healthcare biotechnology. The increasing importance of biotechnology in the pharmaceutical industry is reflected in the number of new chemical entities that are currently under development worldwide. In addition, biotechnologybased technologies to support the development of tools for high-throughput screening, safety and toxicological assessments and advanced drug delivery systems are all very crucial in the healthcare biotechnology sector. IPharm is stepping up the challenge of spearheading the healthcare biotechnology research areas. IPharm aspires to carry out world-class R&D activities to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialisation of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products in Malaysia.