THAILAND DEMONSTRATES IT IS A RISING BIOTECH POWER
AT BIO 2006
Thailand has long sent attendees to BIO, the annual meeting of the biotechnology industry held each year in the spring in a different U.S. city. The attendance has steadily grown year on year. In 2005, the Minister of Science led an expanded delegation and met with several companies to discuss collaboration. In 2006, the development of Thailandís biotechnology research and industry saw a new milestone when Thailand for the first time hosted both a country briefing and a country booth at the BIO 2006 show in Chicago.
(above) Some of the Thailand Delegation from the Ministry of Science and Thailand Board of Investment in front of Thailand Booth at BIO 2006 in Chicago
(above) At the BIO 2006 exhibition hall over 160,000 square feet of exhibit space showcased various company achievements in the field of biotechnology
Thailand sent a fairly large delegation of over 30 participants to the Chicago show. Most of them traveled to arrive in Chicago on Saturday, April 8, 2006, as they wanted to attend Thailandís international country seminar scheduled for Sunday, April 9. Thailandís country seminar was extremely well attended and in fact every seat was filled with a considerable number of people forced to stand in the back of the room.
(left) At the Country Seminar are: Dr. Chachanat Tebtharanonth, Vice President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA); Dr. Pornchai Matangkasombut, President of Mahidol University and Chairman of Thailand Center for Excellence in Life Science (TCELS) of Thailand; Ms. Acharin Pattanapanchai, Assistant Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI); Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen, Director of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC); and Secretary General Satit Sirirangkamanont, head of Thailand Board of Investment (BOI)
The session was moderated by Professor Dr. Chachanat Tebtharanonth, Vice President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Director of the Technology Management Center (TMC) at NSTDA who welcomed guests and noted that she would endeavor to move rapidly along to ensure that all speakers had time to cover their issues satisfactorily and that time was left at least for some questions.
(left) The four speakers on the panel for Thailand Country Seminar
Ms. Acharin Pattanapanchai, Assistant Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) then outlined Thailandís position as one of the best sites for investment in Asia including noting recent studies that show Thailand is in the top four sites for investment and is one of the sole Asian countries to have seen itís competitiveness and attractiveness to business actually to have increased over the last several years. Click here to view Ms. Pattanapanchaiís presentation
Professor Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen, Director of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), one of the five centers under the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) followed with a presentation, which highlighted the growth of biotech research, scientific collaboration and discovery in Thailand. She noted Thailandís place as a BIO country with unique biological diversity and with a wealth of research talent that each year continued to add relatively large numbers of new Master and PhD capability to the country. Dr. Morakot also noted Thailandís recent work in rice genomics, improvement through biotechnology of aquaculture and of exciting opportunities for collaboration with Thailand for natural products based on the biological diversity of Thailand.
(left) Professor Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen gives a presentation
The third and final speaker was Professor Dr. Pornchai Matangkasombut, President of Mahidol University and Chairman of Thailand Center for Excellence in Life Science (TCELS) of Thailand. The Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) was established in June 2004 under a Royal Decree by the King of Thailand. It was set up following the formation of a strategic, innovation-based public-private partnership between the US-ASEAN Business Council and Royal Thai Government. TCELS vision is to become a world-class research and investment center for Life Sciences to benefit Thai citizens and the region.
(above) Thailand is now recognized as the regional medical hub for not only Southeast Asia but for all of Asia Dr. Pornchai, a medical doctor and a graduate and President of Thailand's leading medical school at Mahidol University and who has completed numerous advanced programs internationally both in the U.S. and Europe then spoke about opportunities for clinical trials, collaboration with Thai Universities and medical schools plus of the many private Thai small but growing biotech businesses. Dr. Pornchai noted that Thailand is now recognized as the regional medical hub for not only Southeast Asia but for all of Asia and that last year over 1,200,000 foreigners came to Thailand for medical check-ups, voluntary elective surgery, dentistry and other procedures and that this growth in ďmedical tourismĒ was growing at a rate of near twenty percent (20%). He urged the attendees at the Country Seminar to learn more about Thailand and the opportunities for collaboration. He assured them that they would be impressed by Thai science, Thai willingness to collaborate and with the low cost business costs that could help new companies greatly extend the demonstration of the validity of the technology they developed.
Dr. Sakarindr Bhumiratana, President of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) (far right) and Dr. Chachanat Tebtharanonth, NSTDA Vice President (middle) meeting with attendees during the Country Seminar at BIO 2006
Dr. Pornchai Matangkasombut, President of Mahidol University and Chairman of Thailand Center for Excellence in Life Science -TCELS of Thailand (middle); Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen, Director of BIOTEC; and Ms. Acharin Pattanapanchai, Assistant Secretary General of BOI (second left and far left) are talking to Dr. Jake Secor of Dow Agro Science, while Dr. Kitisri Sukhapinda: Director of TOL at NSTDA looks on.
BIO 2006 opened on Monday, April 10. The show, which was three days in length, attracted totally nearly 20,000 attendees. Over 160,000 square feet of exhibit space showcased various company achievements in the field of biotechnology. Major countries represented included all the big nations one would expect, the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, India, China, Japan plus many smaller rising nations such as Ireland, Thailand, Singapore and others who are rapidly gaining niche status.
Thailandís booth was visited by several thousand visitors in the course of the three day show who all came to learn more about the Thailand Science Park, Thai opportunities for clinical trials, Thai developments in agro biotech plus some exciting research opportunities in insect fungi and other natural products. The booth, which was staffed by members of the Ministry of Science, Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) and the Thailand Center for Excellence in Life Science, was nearly always receiving new visitors. Meanwhile a high level delegation from the three Thai government agencies noted above attended technical seminars of met with major U.S. Big Pharma, Biotech and Agricultural biotech companies to discuss opportunities and to brief these companies on new developments in Thailand plus to solicit collaboration and investment.
Delegation meets with representatives from Japan External Trade
Organization (JETRO) at the BIO 2006
|The author, Chris Runckel (far right), President of Runckel & Associates (www.business-in-asia.com) meeting with Dr. Prasit Palittapongarnpim, Deputy Director of BIOTEC (second right) and company officials of ICON Clinical at BIO 2006.|
(left and right pictures above) At the Thailand Reception night, guests are enjoying Thai customs and classical dance
Thailandís presentation at BIO 2006 was itís largest to date but Thailand has already decided to field an even larger delegation next year for the BIO 2007 exhibition in Boston. The 2007 show in Boston will have over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space as compared to 160,000 square feet in 2006. It will see Thailand more than double the size of its exhibition space and look to field an even more inclusive delegation of government agencies, companies, universities and research institutions to better show Thailandís growing prowess in biotechnology.
For more information on Biotechnology Industry in Thailand:
overview, development, government support, etc., click here
About the Author:
Christopher W. Runckel, a former senior US diplomat who served in many counties in Asia, is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. He served as Deputy General Counsel of President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. Mr. Runckel is the principal and founder of Runckel & Associates, a Portland, Oregon based consulting company that assists businesses expand business opportunities in Asia. (www.business-in-asia.com)
Until April of 1999, Mr. Runckel was Minister-Counselor of the US Embassy in Beijing, China. Mr. Runckel lived and worked in Thailand for over six years. He was the first permanently assigned U.S. diplomat to return to Vietnam after the Vietnam War. In 1997, he was awarded the U.S. Department of States highest award for service, the Distinguished Honor Award, for his contribution to improving U.S.-Vietnam relations. Mr. Runckel is one of only two non-Ambassadors to receive this award in the 200-year history of the U.S. diplomatic service.
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