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7-Business: Malaysia establishes biotech cooperation with U.S.univeristy

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Big potential in biotech ties with Clemson
SOURCE: The Star, Malaysia, by Johan Fernandez
DATE:   26 Jul 2004

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Big potential in biotech ties with Clemson

MALAYSIA is looking at establishing an agro-biotechnology partnership
programme with the University of Clemson in Clemson, South Carolina, one
of the premier biotech research institutions in the United States.

The university voted the best by Time magazine in 2001, and listed among
the top 35 universities in the US this year, is recognised nationally in
the US for agro-biotechnology, especially in the field of plant genetic

Malaysian ambassador to the US, Datuk Ghazalli Sheikh Khalid, recently
led a delegation to Clemson University for discussions on areas of
collaboration as well as getting students to study there.

The visit was organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Authority
(MIDA) director in New York, Mr Phang Ah Thong, and Tan Sri Alan J. Wood,
a businessman who worked in Malaysia for more than 30 years and now a
resident of Aiken in South Carolina.

Ghazalli's visit came shortly after he accompanied Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to the biotech exhibition in San Francisco in
which major biotechnology companies from around the world took part.

Ghazalli said he saw vast potential for Malaysian institutions
collaborating with the university, particularly in the area of food and

"Malaysia has a lot to offer to the biotechnology industry being one of
the twelve countries in the world with mega-diverse bio-resources, much
of it yet to be tapped," he said.

He said Malaysia's flora was estimated to contain about 12,500 species of
flowering plants and more than 1,100 species of ferns, while the marine
ecosystem is rich in a variety of life form with over 4,000 species of
marine fishes.

Malaysia's coral community is considered to be among the most diverse in
the world.

Ghazalli said he was impressed with the kind of research being undertaken
and the willingness of the university to work with Malaysian institutions
of higher learning and research organisations to share research and to
collaborate in projects.

Clemson University has shown its commitment to develop this relationship
by agreeing to send one of its senior professors to Malaysia this month
to meet Education Ministry officials as well as those from universities
and state Governments to discuss areas of collaboration.

Ghazalli said collaborating with Clemson on research and development was
in line with the Prime Minister's new vision of promoting agriculture in
the country and the use of biotechnology to achieve this goal.

"Our visit here to learn the areas of excellence established by the
university are also sectors in which Malaysia is seeking to develop and
excel in," he said.

Ghazalli said the university's concentration on research and development
in biotech, biomedical and bio-agriculture had been very productive.

"There is great potential for collaboration between Clemson and
agricultural-based universities and those developing biotech capabilities
in Malaysia.

"There are also opportunities for Clemson to engage in collaboration
efforts with our leading research institutions like MARDI, PORIM, IMR,
vaccine institutions as well as organisations established under the Bio-
Valley project," he added.


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