Biopharmaceutical project launched, praised by PM

In a move that will accelerate research and innovation in the Kingdom, Siam Bioscience Company launched a joint venture firm to develop biopharmaceuticals to fight cancer and auto-immune diseases, drawing a visit to the company from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who praised it as an endeavor that will support Thailand 4.0, the country’s strategy to upgrade its economy to a more advanced level.

“We want to push innovations that can be gradually commercialized, such as this project,” Gen Prayut said during a visit to Bioscience’s first plant. “The government has ordered all of our agencies to spend at least 30 percent of their purchasing budget on innovations produced by Thais.”

Siam Bioscience has spent over $56 million to build two facilities devoted to biopharmaceutical development and production. Biopharmaceuticals are drugs and medications derived from living organisms as their base components. The field is a perfect fit for Thailand 4.0, which emphasizes research and development, green industries and advanced technologies.

Siam Bioscience is 100 percent owned by the Crown Property Bureau Equity Company, and collaborates with the private sector and Mahidol University. Mahidol is the premier medical school in Thailand. The new firm also announced last week that it had formed a joint venture subsidiary with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop anti-cancer drugs and pharmaceuticals to address autoimmune diseases.

The joint venture firm is named Abinis Company and Siam Bioscience holds a 70 percent stake. The firm will build a plant in Nonthaburi province just north of Bangkok that is expected to be up and running by 2020.

Siam Bioscience has already developed two drugs through collaborative research with Mahidol University: biopharmaceuticals for treating anemia in patients with kidney failure, and another that reduces the risk of infection among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

“Siam Bioscience is the only Thai firm in the biopharma business,” said Hirunya Suchinai, the secretary-general of the Board of Investment.

Apiporn Pasawat, executive chairman of Siam Bioscience, said his firm is already distributing its pharmaceuticals to other countries in the Southeast Asian region including Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Laos.

“We also plan to export to Latin America from our joint venture with the Cuban firm,” he said. He expects that in five years the company will be earning 70 percent of its revenues from exports of its pharmaceuticals.

“The company is also developing bio-cosmeceutical products to serve demand in the market,” he said. The launch will be in the middle of this year, with a target exceeding $1 million in sales by the end of this year.

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