Sarawak is well-endowed with a diverse wealth of biological resources i.e. biodiversity, that potentially have unique applications in healthcare, agriculture and industries. Bioprospecting of the biodiversity to discover potential and useful applications very much depends on implementing a highly robust R&D programme involving various scientific tools including biotechnology.
Biotechnology makes use of knowledge of the biological system to generate useful bio-products and applications for our everyday life such as medicines, food and the environment. Biotechnology and the development of bio-industries has also been earmarked as an engine of growth for the State and country.
SBC’s R&D Programme focuses on making discoveries in biological resources that would lead to the development of herbal therapies, nutraceuticals, cosmaceuticals for health-care and pharmaceutical drugs for countering diseases such as cancer and infectious agents. The programme also aims to discover chemicals and enzymes from our biological resources that would be useful over a broad range of applications as industrial related products such as essential oils, bio-pesticides and commercial dyes.
The objectives of this programme are to:
- continously develop a unique library of natural products from useful plants and microbes
- screen for anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-bacteria, anti-inflammation and anti-protease compounds from SBC's natural products library
- isolate and sequence genes from useful microbes that have medicinal and industrial applications
- develop plant tissue culture capabilities for mass propagation and genetic transformation
- develop analytical skills for structural determination of bioactive compounds
- train and develop the State’s human resources in the field of biotechnology
- attract scientific collaboration and investments from biotech/pharmaceutical companies
- assist in the development of the bioindustry in the State by providing potential bio-products for commercialization
The R&D Programme is supported 7 well-equipped and specialized laboratories (extraction, microbiology, molecular biology, plant tissue culture, analytical chemistry and bioinformatics), staffed with trained scientists who work in a conducive environment intended for innovative research.
SBC's research facilities also provide the State with the means to bioprospect its biodiversity through R&D and share the benefits made from the discoveries with the people. The discoveries will consequently provide a pipeline of bio-products for the bioindustry to jump-start and generate future economical returns and revenues for the State.