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Thailand's National Biotechnology
Policy Framework 2004-2011

 Edited by the
National Biotechnology Policy Committee Secretariat
Organized by the National Center
for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

National Science and Technology Development Agency

113 Thailand Science Park, Paholyothin Road

Klong 1, Klong Luang, Patumthani 12120

Tel. 0-2564-6700 Fax. 0-2564-6701-5 website: www.biotec.or.th

 
Message from His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, on Biotechnology Industry:

"Thailand’s National Biotechnology Policy Framework (2004-2011), endorsed by the National Biotechnology Policy Committee, will bring about not only an investment value of over 5,000 million baht in biotechnology research and development, but also the emergence of more than one hundred new companies in the biotechnology business. This means the generating of around 30,000 million baht in revenue for the country annually. At the same time, the country’s growth in agricultural and food exports will be expanded, which signifies that Thailand’s strength in biotechnology will be fostered together with the enhancement of our economic competitiveness and quality of personnel in biotechnology. In other words, we shall be able to create significant intellectual capital, which is a key driving factor for propelling Thailand into a knowledge based economy in the coming era. At this juncture, the government is committed to doing its very best to promote biotechnology, especially through the allocation of a budget that  will  back  up  biotechnology  development  as  well  as  accelerate biotechnology work to bear fruitful and concrete results.

 I am confident that this book, “An Executive Summary on Thailand’s National Biotechnology Policy Framework (2004-2011)” will indeed be of great benefit for al concerned entities as well as enable biotechnology development in Thailand to achieve al of the anticipated goals with success. "

Message from  Dr. Pairash Thajchayapong, Director of National Science and Technology  Development Agency (NSTDA), Secretariat of the National Biotechnology Policy Committee

" Pursuant to Pol. Lt. Col. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister, foreseeing the essence of biotechnology, a key factor for developing the country, he passed on an initiative to formulate Thailand’s National Biotechnology Policy Framework in line with the Government policy to promote sufficiency of living and enhancement of competitiveness for the country, toward a proper balance and direction.

 Accordingly, the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), in collaboration with the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) prepared the National Biotechnology Policy Framework, an eight-year road map (2004 to 2011), and submitted it to the National Biotechnology Policy Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister.

 On December 23, 2003, the National Biotechnology Policy Committee resolved to endorse such National Biotechnology Policy Framework, in viewing that biotechnology development in Thailand possesses high potential along with a series of on-going projects that have been carried out with much efficiency.  In this respect, the National Biotechnology Policy Committee concluded to draw the framework for the period of six years (2004-2011), as well as appointed six sub-committees discharging of each separate goal. 

 Meanwhile, a special sub-committee was also set up entrusted with main task of genetic engineering and biosafety policy development. After al, this should prompt immediate consideration, and speed up implementation on the national policy, for the issues that carry high impact and currently problems to the country.

In the effort to disseminate the National Biotechnology Policy Framework extensively, as well as enable relevant agencies to use it as guidance for their respective implementation in harmony with the national policy, the secretariat of the National Biotechnology Policy Committee has the National Biotechnology Policy Framework published. Although this version of the National Biotechnology Policy Framework was prepared for an eight-year timeframe, the secretariat is now revising it to complete within six-year timeframe as advised by the National Biotechnology Policy Committee.

 The Secretariat of the National Biotechnology Policy Committee would like to extend appreciation to the Steering Committee of the National Biotechnology Status Review and Roadmapping Project, including several working groups for their valuable inputs and contribution to the composition of the National Biotechnology Policy Framework, which of course will be highly useful for the country in employing biotechnology to maintain the balance and advancement for development, encompassing both aspects of sufficiency of living and enhancing competitiveness."

 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Thailand’s National Biotechnology Policy Framework 2004 - 2011

Background The Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, foreseeing the potential of biotechnology towards the development of the country, based  on  the  fact  that  Thailand  has  an  abundance  of  biological resources and the capacity to fast-track certain aspects of the technology, requested the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and other relevant agencies to prepare policy recommendations for the national development of biotechnology. An overview paper on biotechnology policy was prepared and submitted for deliberation by the 3rd Cabinet Screening Committee, and subsequently to the Cabinet, on 18 March 2003. Following consideration, the Cabinet passed a resolution agreeing to establish a National Biotechnology Policy Committee, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, and assigning NSTDA to serve as the secretariat of the Committee and to develop the nation’s master plan for developing biotechnology.

Towards this end, NSTDA and the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), its specialized center in biotechnology, has conducted brainstorming sessions and analysis of data from commissioned studies of current status and trends in biotechnology-related fields, including public hearings with technical experts, the private sector and other stakeholders. Within six months, a draft report identifying a framework of policy initiatives for developing Thailand’s biotechnology was drawn up.

Comments  on  the  draft  report  were  subsequently  sought  from BIOTEC's  Executive  Board  and  the  National  Science  and  Technology Development Board, who provided some recommendations to improve the report. The final policy framework was tabled for consideration at the first meeting of the National Biotechnology Policy Committee on 23 December 2004, where it was discussed and approved. Following are summaries of the main features of the report.

Goals of Biotechnology Development in Thailand (2004-2011)

By the year 2011, biotechnology will be playing a vital role in the country’s development in line with government policy and the national agenda, which encompasses sustainable competitiveness, healthcare for all, equitable income distribution and a self-sufficient economy. The emphasis will be placed on applying core technologies, e.g.  genomics, bioinformatics, plant and animal breeding by means of molecular markers to accelerate development in the following areas: agriculture/food, medical care  and  environment  protection,  new  knowledge  creation  for  the development of higher value-added products, as well as for knowledge-based policy and strategic planning. The core technologies will also help to promote biotechnology business, including high-end products with high value and new types of services where modern technology is required.

 In  addition  to  being  consistent  with  the  national  agenda  and government  policy  directions,  the  national  goals  for  biotechnology development are also derived from consideration to other dimensions. These include, among others, capability in and accessibility to technology, readiness and potential of the country and implications for the economy, society and the environment.

The six goals for biotechnology development in Thailand are:

Goal No. 1:  Emergence and Development of New Bio-Business”           

Goal No. 2:  “Biotechnology Promotes Thailand as Kitchen of the World”

Goal No. 3:Thailand Represents Healthy Community and Healthcare Center of Asia

Goal No. 4:  “Utilization of Biotechnology to Conserve the Environment and to Produce Clean Energy”

Goal No. 5:  “Biotechnology as the Key Factor for Self-Sufficient Economy”

Goal No. 6:  “Development of Qualified Human Resource System”

 
Goal No. 1: “Emergence and Development of New Bio-Business”        

The potential of biotechnology will be utilized to encourage investment in research and development and the establishment of new biotechnology companies with the following major objectives:

- To see the emergence of over one hundred new biotechnology companies
- to  achieve  investment  by  the  private  sector  in  research  and development of biotechnology amounting to at least 5 billion baht per year.

The new bio-business will focus on many new opportunities. One such opportunity is the production of high value-added products, such as medical diagnostic kits, supplementary food and seed. Another is the service business, especially molecular-level detection/analysis for medical care and public health, agriculture and food export, biosafety and bioterrorism/biological weapons. Venture capital is to help expanding investment in the biotechnology business.  Knowledge-based  business,  including  investment  in bioinformatics research for new drug development, the search for genes (the genetic material that make up characteristics of living things) for the improvement of crop plants and livestock, will be the future-oriented focus.

Key strategies are:

Measures that should be carried out immediately include:

 Goal No. 2: “Biotechnology Promotes Thailand as Kitchen of the World”

Biotechnology is to support Thailand to be become the “Kitchen of the world” by maintaining and enhancing its competitiveness in agriculture and food industries which will increase in export value up to 1.2 trillion Baht (3 times the 2002 export value), and elevate the export value of processed agricultural products from 12th in the world ranking, up to the top 5 by the year 2011.

Key strategies are:

8Measures that should be carried out immediately:

Goal No. 3: Thailand Represents Healthy Community and Healthcare Center of Asia

Utilize biotechnology as the core technology to realize the following two objectives:

1. Elevate the quality of life and health of Thai people.
2. Thailand to become. the health center of Asia
.

 Key strategies are:

Invest in research and development for tropical diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and some genetic diseases such as thalassemia that will lead to protection, reduction of cost for patient treatment and care, prevention of epidemics caused by population mobility in the border areas.

Promote premium health care products made from local ingredients, such as herbal products of international standard, bioactive compounds from plants and microorganisms, diagnostic agents and healthcare products that are backed up by scientific data and clinical testing results as to their efficacy and safety that will help substitute imported products and promote a healthy and self-reliant society, together with increasing exports to regional markets.

Make use of foreign policy in assisting neighboring countries in public health and medical care, which will in turn enable greater market access for Thai-developed products and services across the Asian region, and other regions.

Reinforce the government’s role in assisting the global community through partnership with foreign organizations that mobilize capital to support tropical disease research, thereby enabling Thailand to function as the research and development base for the development of tropical disease-related products.

Establish the necessary infrastructure and human resources in biomedical science as a mechanism to stimulate investment and transfer of modern biotechnology such as genomics and bioinformatics that will fortify the objective of becoming a center for healthcare business and a center for clinical trial of medical products.

Support  the  establishment  of  new  companies  related  to  test  kits/diagnostic  kits  and  genetic  testing  service  business  to  substitute imported products and services.

Establish appropriate management mechanisms and implementation strategies in bioethical, legal and societal issues in a well-balanced manner.

 Measures that should be carried out immediately include:

Goal No. 4: “Utilization of Biotechnology to Conserve the Environment and to Produce Clean Energy”

 Utilize biotechnology to improve the environment and strengthen energy security with the following objectives:

Key strategies are:

 Measures that should be carried out immediately:

Goal No. 5: “Biotechnology as the Key Factor for Self-Sufficient Economy”

The primary goal is to conserve and make best use of biological resources that are important to, or specific in, each local community. Biotechnology can be used to extend local wisdom, expand the diversity of products and value of local resources, as well as enhance local product quality.

 Key strategies are:

 Measures that should be carried out immediately:

Goal No. 6: “Development of Qualified Human Resource System”

 In order to achieve all the afore-mentioned goals, “quality of workforce” is essential, with the following three objectives:

 Key strategies are:

20Measures that should be carried out immediately:

Conditions and Overall Strategies for Success

Expected Economic Impact

Societal and Environmental Impacts

Key areas of implementation that will transform policy initiatives into practice

 1. Identify host for each goal: The appropriate host should fulfill the following conditions or qualification: 23

 2.   Develop infrastructure

 3. Resource allocation

In developing biotechnology for the country, it is essential to invest in many areas such as infrastructure development, research and development, support of business development, joint ventures with foreign companies, human resource development, etc.  Focus is to be placed on joint investment carried by the public sector and private sector both Thai and foreign. In the initial phase, the major proportion of investment may come from the Thai government, but later on investment from the Thai private sector and foreign sources is to be gradually increased.  By the year 2011, the proportion of investment will be 50:50 (Thai government: Thai and foreign private sector).  In addition, if Thailand is to reap the genuine socioeconomic benefit of investment in biotechnology, it should invest in research and development in this field at least one third of total budget for science and technology research, or approximately 16.5 billion Baht annually.

24. Implementing the six goals

The lead host and relevant parties should cooperatively implement the strategy to achieve the milestones and the final goal. The lead host is expected to carry out the implementation through partnership with the National Biotechnology Policy Committee. The lead host is required to have a mechanism that will monitor and evaluate project/program implementation by relevant parties, in order to assess its success, quality of work and practicality by examining the outputs and results of the project. This will enable the lead host to adjust its strategy and implementation to suit the changing environment. The lead host will function as a learning center for involved parties to continually develop their capacity and to prepare progressive, forward-looking plans.

 5. Monitoring of progress and evaluation of implementation

a mechanism to monitor and evaluate progress should be put in place by examination at both the overall level and in detail for some particular issues. The monitoring and evaluation process will begin reviewing this policy framework/roadmap commencing in the 4th year of implementation.  This will assist with revising the biotechnology policy framework and formulating a policy plan for the ensuing 8-year period. In addition, in the event of any unexpected situation that affects the policy framework, revision can be made ahead of the schedule. A further mechanism to monitor the changes in technology and status of the country relevant to the rest of the world, in terms of economy (including key exports), society, politics and technology should be put in place in order to adjust policy and strategies in an appropriate and timely manner to cope with the changing situation, domestically and globally. As such, a monitoring and evaluation working group, consisting of experts in various fields and including private sector is to be appointed by the National Biotechnology Policy Committee. Together with the secretariat of the  Policy  Committee,  they  will  function  as  the  core  team for cooperation in collecting, processing and analyzing opinions and recommendations  and  subsequently  report  their  findings  to  the National Biotechnology Policy Committee.


 

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