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Malaysian PM Breaks Ground on BioValley: Genomics Research Institute in Works

NEW YORK, May 20 - The Prime Minister of Malaysia today officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony for Malaysia's BioValley, the country's effort toward building an Asian biotech hub, government websites and Asian media reported.


The facilities in the BioValley, located south of Kuala Lumpur, will include a genomics research institute, the BioValley UKM Genomics Laboratory, as well as an agricultural research institute and a pharmaceutical research institute, the accourding to a government biotech website.


The Malaysian government has pledged to invest 100 million ringgit, ($26.3 million) in the initial infrastructure development phase, reported earlier today.


BioValley, which was first conceived in 2001, is being built in the country's economically troubled Multimedia Super Corridor, a high-technology area launched in the 1980s. With the MSC, the new high-tech biotech area is to be renamed the Biotechnology and Information Technology Super Corridor, or BITS. This new move has been regarded as an effort to rescue the MSC and compete with other similar initiatives in Korea, Japan, Singapore, and China.


Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad has chaired the committee to push the BioValley plans forward.


Malaysia has been working on developing biotechnology for a while. The countrylaunched a national biotechnology directorate in 1996, and in 1999, formed a joint biotech initiative with MIT, The Malaysia-MIT Biotechnology Partnership Program. The MIT Program focuses on oil palm technology and discovery of products from medicinal plants native to Malaysia.



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