Sarawak infectious disease centre eyes S.Korean firms for collaborative work

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre CEO Ivan Yap (fifth from left), exchanging souvenirs with Bioneer founder Dr Park Han-Oh during a visit to the biomedical firm in Seoul. – Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre pic, December 5, 2023.

SARAWAK’S Infectious Disease Centre in Kota Samarahan has cast its eyes on South Korean biomedical and pharmaceutical firms to add to its already long list of research firms that have agreed to do collaborative work with the centre on tropical infectious diseases. 

A delegation, led by the centre’s chief executive officer, Ivan Yap Kok Seng, held talks with Bioneer Korea in Seoul on collaboration and partnership in the area of molecular diagnostics and co-development of new diagnostics for infectious diseases relevant to Sarawak and the region.  

The centre hoped collaboration could start next year. 

Yap, in his discussions with the founder of Bioneer, Dr Park Han-Oh, and his senior team, also discussed human capital development, including internship programmes that would allow researchers and students from Sarawak to be attached to the institute for up to a year. 

Yap, who is also the deputy general manager of Sarawak Research and Development Council – which owns the centre – and his delegation had similar discussions in their visit to the Institute for Basic Science. 

The discussion centred on collaboration in the area of virology, including fundamental mechanistic study and the establishment of the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats – more commonly known as CRISPR – technology at the RM200 million centre which is projected to be operational next year. 

The centre, certified for bio-safety level 3 research, has had similar discussions with Imperial College London and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. 

In October, the centre inked memoranda of agreement and memorandums of understanding with six international biomedical sciences institutions for research and development in communicable and non-communicable diseases. 

The institutions are the Australian National Phenome Centre, AMILI Singapore, Monash University Malaysia, Pacific Biosciences USA, Numares AG, and Agilent Technologies Malaysia. 

With these institutions, the centre hoped to develop and enhance its capability in the area of phenomics, disease diagnostics and theranostics, vaccine and therapeutic discoveries, future sustainable nutrition, and data analytics, and concomitantly build capacity in these areas. – December 5, 2023. 

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