According to Malaysian government, the world’s biggest stem cell facility to be built in Pahang state could potentially generate RM1 billion in turnover by end of 2011. The 200 acres land in Janda Baik has been identified as the location for the facility to produce stem cells from rabbit to treat various diseases. Pahang chief minister claimed that the bulk of the revenue would come from stem cell transplant services while the rest would be from the sale of fertilizer and rabbit meat.
Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pahang Technology Resources Sdn Bhd (PTR) and BCRO Stem Cell Xenotransplantation Sdn Bhd (BCRO Malaysia), Malaysian aims to be the hub for rabbit colony for stem cell culture and production for medical purposes. Interestingly BCRO (Bio-Cellullar Research Organization) has been established only to be closed down before re-established again, first in U.K. then Ireland and finally U.S.
BCRO Malaysia is 80% Malaysian-owned with the remaining owned by foreigners. Under this MoU PTR will provide land while BCRO provide funds and technical expertise. Something is not right though – the foreigners are expected to inject RM280 million to the initial plant development with more money needed as the plant approached full operation and commercialization in 2011, when the foreigners only owned 20% stake in the first place? What a great deal! Hopefully this will not be another white-elephant plant in the making again.
Anyway since some of the local stem cells players namely StemLife Berhad (KLSE: STEMLFE, stock-code 0137), TMC Life Sciences Bhd (KLSE: TMCLIFE, stock-code 0101), CyroCord and CellSafe International (CSI) have BioNexus status to conduct their own R&D, would such news enhance the pace of the biotechnology to leap-frog Malaysia in this sector? Would Vincent Tan emerge with some surprises again since he had quietly acquired substantial stake in StemLife and TMC Life?
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