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SHAH ALAM: This year, it is all about commercialisation for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti).

Launching the Mosti Commercialisation Year (MCY) 2014 yesterday, its minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin announced nine fresh initiatives that will act as a framework to boost commercialisation activities.

Ewon said MCY aims to increase the country’s commercialisation activities. The three main components are technology commercialisation platform (TCP), information services and promotion. Such a focus would help boost Malaysia’s current commercialisation rate of 8%, he added.

“We are expecting 60 products yearly, minimum. We are also expecting the commercialisation rate to go up by 10% to 15% per year,” he said.

During the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plans, the government allocated about RM4.8 billion for research and development. Some 8,000 research projects were approved and successfully generated about RM5.12 billion.

Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said the target was reasonable for Malaysia and the ministry expects such products to come out of the flagship sectors, such as healthcare, biotechnology, food and energy.

“In a developed nation, the commercialisation rate is usually almost 10%. This means that out of 10 projects, only one is successful or from 100 projects only 10 are successful.

“So, we expect from this commercialisation year, if we get from 10% to 15%, it is good. It cannot be a bigger margin, it’s illogical,” said Abu Bakar.

Hoping to kick-start promotional activities for the MCY, the ministry is planning a promotional effort with car plate numbers featuring “1MCY”, which will use GPS and reflective decals.

At the MCY 2014 launch, three companies — Promise Earth (M) Sdn Bhd, Waltex Biotech Laboratories Sdn Bhd and Green World Genetics (GWG) Sdn Bhd — received RM 3 million each from the Biotechnology Commercialisation Fund (BCF).

GWG are producers of high quality tropical seeds, Promise Earth produces compost made out of food waste, while Waltex Biotech Laboratories are producers of high quality orchids using tissue culture. All three companies are marketing their products locally, but only GWG has managed to enter the international market.

All three recipients hold the BioNexus status given by BiotechCorp, an agency within the purview of Mosti that acts as the “chief driver” to develop companies undertaking biotechnology activities in the country.

BioNexus Development Division manager Mohd Azad Mohd Azzam said the difficulty in accessing funds as one of the main problems faced by the 229 BioNexus-status companies under its wing. He adds that although the agency has its own commercialisation fund, it will assist those companies in obtaining funding through other channels.

Expressing congratulations to the recipients, he assured that the agency will continue to support and develop biotech endeavours in the country. “We will definitely help all our companies, we don’t pick and choose,” he said.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 24, 2014.

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