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BOI sees potential in Phl’s modern biotechnology

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The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) underscored enormous business opportunities awaiting investors in the country’s modern biotechnology industry during the technical forum held on 22 November as part of the 18th National Biotechnology Week (NBW).

“We believe that it is high time to put the spotlight on modern biotechnology,” Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa of the BOI’s Industry Development Services (IDS) pointed out, emphasizing the potential business opportunities in the Philippines owing to the numerous applications of biotechnology across industries.

“We hope that this technical forum will provide the stage to mainstream bioeconomy as a national agenda in the coming years and future NBWs,” Executive Director Halili-Dichosa added.

Held in a hybrid format, the forum featured eleven local and international experts. Consistent with this year’s theme, “Responding to the Challenges: Business Opportunities in Biotechnology,” the forum titled, “Emerging Modern Industrial Biotech Applications: Prospects and Opportunities” had five sessions that covered biotech applications in food manufacturing, particularly plant-based foods, animal vaccines, biomaterials, energy, environment, pharmaceutical, and medicine.

In the first session, Mr. Lee Bridgett of IHS-Markit and Dr. Douglas Gladue of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service discussed plant-based foods and African Swine Fever (ASF) vaccines, respectively.

While the second session featured Ms. Lizzie Guerrero of OIKOS Sustainable Solutions Incorporated, who discussed their cassava- and corn-based packaging products, and Dr. Jerome Palaganas of Nanotronics, Inc., who explained the role of biotechnology in the biomaterials sector.

For the third part of the sessions, Ms. Charisse Jane D. Pascual of the Department of Energy (DOE) talked about biotechnology in energy with a focus on biomass and waste-to-heat energy, while Ms. Janine Contiguerra-Baguhin of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) discussed biotechnology in environment highlighting the importance of plant tissue culture. Mr. Jonathan Cheng, Co-Founder of Pullulo Pte. Ltd, on the other hand, explained the role of start-ups in shaping modern biotechnologies for various industries.

Moreover, Mr. Nitin Kapoor, Vice President of AstraZeneca’s Vaccine and Immune Therapies International, Mr. Higinio P. Porte Jr. of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, and Ms. Linda G. Tantiansu of Swisspharma Research Laboratories, Inc. shared their journeys in the development of their products and services using modern biotechnology. Mr. Kapoor discussed their COVID-19 vaccine while Mr. Porte touched on Lagundi, and Ms. Tantiansu talked about stem cell therapy.

Further, a total of 107 participants, both online and onsite, showed up during the forum and had the chance to ask questions to the line-up of speakers.

Closing the forum, BOI’s Mr. Francis Peñaflor emphasized Biotech Biz Beats in the Philippines as shown by the different presentations during the session. With the forum, the BOI calls on all industry stakeholders to make bioeconomy in the country a reality.

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