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Who are the people behind DNA Phenomics?

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mingwan0   Sunday, 08/10/03 12:53:54 AM
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Who are the people behind DNA Phenomics?

It is still a little difficult to answer this as we do not know anything about the ownership of the company, who the directors are, etc. However, it is clear that two of the people mentioned previously, Dr Gurinder Shahi and Datuk Prof.Dr M Jegathesan (listed at different times as the CEO and Chairman of BioEnterprise Asia) are involved to some extent. This may be purely through BioEnterprise Asia's role in assisting start-ups. I would not be surprised to see them play a more direct role though as e.g. investors, directors or scientific advisors to the company. They are very serious players and are as well-connected as you can get. Here is some more background on them.

Dr Gurinder Shahi

Dr. Shahi is a physician with training in molecular biochemistry and international health policy and management. He is a leading expert on change management and strategic program implementation in healthcare and the life sciences. His experience includes work on life science technology assessment; strategic business planning; R&D and work process improvement; performance appraisal of joint ventures and strategic alliances; market strategy development; economic and policy analysis for health intervention; and evidence-based decision-making for investment and implementation. Dr. Shahi has played a key role in the development of several major international initiatives including the International Vaccine Institute and the Asia-Pacific International Molecular Biology Network (for which he concurrently serves as Executive Director/Coordinator), and has served as advisor and consultant to leading international organizations, governments, corporations and foundations. He has authored over 50 articles, refereed journal papers and conference presentations, and served as lead editor for International Perspectives on Environment, Development and Health: Toward a Sustainable World (GS Shahi, BS Levy, A Binger, T Kjellstrom and RS Lawrence, Springer Publishing Company, New York, 1997). Working with his colleagues on the BioEnterprise Asia team, Dr. Shahi is currently completing a book entitled BioBusiness in Asia - exploring opportunities and challenges confronting entrepreneurs and life science enterprises in the region.
[MBBS, PhD – National University of Singapore; MPH – Harvard University]

Gurinder Shahi MBBS, PhD, MPH
International Vaccine Institute Operations Development
Seoul National University Campus
Shillim-Dong, Kwanak-Ku Seoul
Republic of Korea

Dr. Shahi's research interests include: vaccination and public health, public policy and vaccine development

As for AP Genomics, this transfer of technology from NUS (National University of Singapore) represents a landmark for this promising young company that is already working closely with collaborators throughout the region to develop a range of exciting genome-based diagnostic technologies.

The BioEnterprise Asia ("BEA") Group is a consortium of life science enterprises dedicated to identifying, nurturing and managing the development of innovative new technologies and high growth enterprises in healthcare, the life sciences and related technology areas. The BEA Group understands healthcare, biotechnology and the life sciences. They take a proactive market-oriented stance in identifying and exploiting innovative technologies and high growth technology business opportunities in Asia. "BioEnterprise Asia recognizes the tremendous untapped potential of scientific insight and nascent technologies in India," said Dr. Gurinder Shahi.

Dr. Gurinder Shahi
United Nations Development Program,3916,161_1444141,00.html

August 12, 2002 / News Archives
A Perfect Marriage Between Bioscience And IT
By Tan Mae Lynn

Not long ago, it was the dotcom companies. Today, the buzz is in biotechnology and life sciences.

Touted as the gold mine for the next decade, public and private investors all over Asia are pumping in billions of dollars in an effort to keep up with growth expected in the biotech industry.

According to IDC, Korea is expected to see the largest growth in life sciences based on the sheer size of investment being pumped into the industry - US$10.8 billion by 2008. In Singapore, the government will be injecting US$2.5 billion toward plans to make the country Asia's biotech and life sciences hub. Australia already has over 200 listed biotech companies and currently holds the lead in research successes and drug approvals. By 2006, it is expected to be the second largest bioscience economy in Asia Pacific.

One thing's for sure - Asia wants to be at the forefront of life sciences.

Previously, the process of research and development and slow product time-to-market had caused investors to turn away.

According to Dr. Gurinder Shahi, Chairman of BioEnterprise Asia, "the traditional approach to drug discovery and development is a long and drawn out process that could take 3-5 years or longer, and depends more on serendipity and is limited by often non-standardized, unsystematic and highly inefficient and even random processes."

That's not all. The pre-clinical and thereafter clinical testing stages could also take just as long.

The high risks and possible low, if any, returns also made it easy for investors to turn away. Philip Fersht, IDC Asia Pacific's Director of Bio-IT and Life Sciences, says success in bioscience had a one in 33,000 chance of success and one in five percent chance from inception to market launch.

However, with the help of technology, bioscience has seen rapid advancement and its growth potential is still enormous.

And there lies the pot of gold. "All these processes are ripe for a total rethink so they can systematically be telescoped into much quicker development cycles and less inefficient and random approaches," says Shahi.

He adds that there are already some companies that have come up with new and innovative ways to "short-circuit" drug discovery and development using smart lab-science and the best that bio-IT has to offer for computer-based analysis and molecular simulation.

In doing so, Shahi says, "we can go from identification of a drug target to generation of optimized candidate drugs in 3-4 months rather than the 3-5 years it normally takes

Fersht also believes that IT will be the enabler to bring about the vast majority of business and scientific advances in the bioscience industry. He says: "IT provides the necessary and essential tools to create, organize, analyze, store, retrieve and share genomic, proteomic, chemical and clinical data in the life sciences."

The Road Ahead

Most experts agree that the bioscience economy in Asia Pacific is still in its infancy, leaving vast opportunities waiting to be tapped. Market capitalization of all biotech firms in Asia today is estimated to be less than five percent that of the top 25 US companies, according to Shahi.

So how can the bioscience potential be realized? An environment of partnership between government, industry and academia should be established before a country can hope to reap the benefits of a flourishing life sciences/biotech economy, Shahi says.

Also, the continued development of IT systems will undoubtedly augment biosciences in future. Fersht believes that bioscience creates a middleware, hardware, services and networking opportunity for IT companies, and sees that by 2006, storage will represent the single largest element of bio-IT spending, accounting for US$1.1 billion, and server clusters following closely with US$1 billion and services at US$794 million.

There will also be a higher demand for high performance computing systems. In addition to this, Shahi adds that there is a clear benefit to be derived from the development of better knowledge and database management, integration systems as well as from the development of virtual reality tools for molecular modeling and simulations.

The apparent optimism surrounding bioscience could bode very well for the rapid development of bio-IT.

Datuk Prof.Dr M Jegathesan§ion=sm06

Dato’ Dr. M. Jegathesan was born on 2nd of November 1943 in Ipoh, Perak. He had his early education at Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Road and Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur before he further his studies in the Anglo Chinese School, Singapore in 1956. He is a medical doctor and obtained his MBBS (Singapore) in 1967, DPNH 1969, DCP (London) 1971 and Dip. Pathlogi (England) 1971. His involvement in the sports arena was very supportive by his family as his father, N.M. Vasagam from Sri Lanka was once a winner in the 440 yard in the MAAU Championship, same goes to his to brothers, M. V. Singam, Balakrishnan and Harichandra. He held the national record for the 100m event in 10.3s and made the most fastest runner in Asia during the Asia Games in 1966. His achievement made him to the semi finals for the Olympics 1964 (Tokyo) and 1968 (Mexico) in the 200m event. He achieve gold in the 400m, 200m and 4X400m in the SEAP Games 1961, 1962 and 1966. Through his achievements he was called ‘The Flying Doctor’. He was the first to be entitled ‘Olahragawan Negara’ in 1966. All his achievements and hard work that made Malaysia proud. He got the honours/awards/medals AMN, KMN and PJK.

"Later when Datuk Jega was an upcoming athlete, he recounted how in the 1966 Asian Games where he won a gold medal in the 100m (and later the 200m) the then Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak personally congratulated Jega which was followed up by a congratulatory telegram by the then Prime Minister, Tuanku Abdul Rahman."

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) vice-president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan said his appointment as chef-de-mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens is an honour, particularly to veteran athletes in the country.

M. Jegathesan (Council on Health Research for Development, UNDP, Switzerland)

IMR's next project with Inbiotech is commercialisation of a bacterium discovered by Lee, called Bacillus thuringiensis H-28 subspecies jegathesan. The bacterium is named after former IMR director and current Health Ministry deputy director-general (research and technical support) Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan.

He is a member of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (Medical Sciences).

Executive Committee Members of the Eisenhower Fellows Association, Malaysia.

Chatting about his golden period - when he was a national track and field athlete in the 60s - has him grinning with satisfaction. Dubbed the 'fastest man in Asia', Datuk Dr Manickavasagam Jegathesan is the first Malaysian to make it to the semi-finals of the Olympic Games.

Born on 2 November 1943, Datuk Jega shatters any theory that 'jocks are dumb'. He has a degree in medicine as well as specialist qualifications in pathology and infectious diseases - the latter and microbiology being his areas of preference. Lee Hong, his wife, sure was lucky to grab him when she did. He has enjoyed an illustrious career as a highly knowledgeable and well-respected member of the medical community with three decades of service with the Ministry of Health - culminating in the post of Deputy Director General (Research and Technical Support) before retiring four years ago.

He doesn't look like he does much running these days, except for the occasional jog or game of golf when time permits. His recorded time of 20.9 seconds for the 200 metres dash still stands as the Malaysian record. In fact, this is the only thing many Malaysians recall when hearing his name.

Datuk feels "fame is great only for that time. You do something great, people pat you on your back and then you have to move on.

"What thrills me most is that I have won two national awards. One is the National Sports Award in 1966 and the other is the National Science Award in 1995. That explains what I've been doing for the past 30 years. I studied and pursued sports simultaneously. In fact, my best running career was at the University of Singapore."

After retiring from the government sector, Datuk Jega served as medical advisor at a United Nations agency in Geneva called COHRED, Council of Health Research for Development, before joining SIHAT, a health facilities consulting company, as Chief Executive Officer. He also lectures at Universiti Putra Malaysia and sits as Vice President on the Olympic Council Malaysia - all of which require him to be on his toes at all times.

"I would define a hobby as being something I enjoy doing. In that respect I consider my work to be my hobby.

"Apart from my work at SIHAT, I like to get involved in a lot of professional activities. I sit in a number of international organisations both in sports and in the medical field. So, all of these I consider to be my hobbies."

A medical and pathologist by training, Dr Jega is the Chairman of BioEnterprise Asia (M) Sdn Bhd. He is also very involved with the World Health Organization (WHO) as he has served as a member and Chairman of the Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee of the Tropical Disease Research Program sponsored by WHO, World Bank and UNDP.

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