Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Thailand rising as biotech and medical hub

In a recent interview, a leading professor at Bangkok’s Mahidol University based at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) – a collaboration between Oxford and Mahidol Universities and the London-based Wellcome Trust – noted that its activities have spread far beyond Thailand to countries across Asia and Africa.

Now, having pioneered treatments to combat deadly tropical diseases, MORU is enrolling 40,000 frontline healthcare workers as far away as Europe and South America in the only large-scale global clinical trial to test whether the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent COVID-19.

Thailand has long been internationally acclaimed as a destination for so-called medical tourists lured by Bangkok’s world-class hospitals. Less well known is an underlying healthcare ecosystem that is helping transform Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy into a much broader medical hub, attracting investors and researchers in biotechnology – including vaccines, genomics, and biopharmaceuticals — as well as high-tech medical devices.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled industries in other parts of the world, the nation has recorded investor confidence in Thailand’s healthcare sector. In the first half of 2020, 52 medical-related businesses with projects worth THB13 billion sought approval from Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) – a rise of 170 percent in project numbers and 123 percent in value over the same period last year.

In one recent example, South Korea’s largest biotech company partnered with a Thai public-private consortium to establish a manufacturer of oncology drugs and DNA vaccines for cervical cancer. The manufacturer aims to use Thailand as a research and development hub, as well as a production base for Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Russia.

The region’s medical sector has big potential and many companies want to transfer technology to help it develop further.

Thailand’s success at attracting medical sector investment stems in large part from two key factors.

One is the raft of incentives offered by the BOI to qualifying Thai and foreign-owned companies, including tax breaks of up to 13 years and smart visas that enable expatriate researchers and other key employees and their families to stay in the country for up to four years. Another is Thailand’s track record both in containing the spread of COVID-19 and actively working on vaccines.

Since the pandemic began, Thailand has won international praise for the very low infection rate among its 70 million population. Over the same period, Thailand has also become one of the first middle-income nations to begin clinical trials on a home-developed COVID-19 vaccine.

Separate from the Oxford-Mahidol global trial on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, Thai universities and biotechnology companies are working on at least three vaccine candidates.

In the most advanced of the vaccine studies, Chulalongkorn University’s Chula Vaccine Research Center is about to begin human trials on a vaccine that has already been tested successfully on mice and monkeys.

Now its COVID-19 vaccine, based on a technology known as mRNA, has attracted international media attention. And if the upcoming human trials prove successful, the team hopes to work with manufacturers in Thailand, North America, and Germany to produce 30 million vaccine doses to supply Thailand and six other Asian countries.

The team at MORU is also collaborating with a second Chulalongkorn study in which a leading expert and doctor at the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Center, working with a spinoff from the university’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, has developed a potential vaccine that uses a different technology derived from plant protein.

The MORU professor stated that in terms of a hub for international collaboration, Thailand is very good. COVID-19 has shown that the world is a very small place. Countries cannot just look inwards and Thailand has the vision to understand the importance of global health as well as national health, he concluded.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com