Malaysian Genomics aims to make cancer treatment affordable

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Bhd has ventured into the biopharmaceutical sector with the aim of improving cancer treatment options in the country.

Chief executive officer Sasha Nordin said under the diversification, the company would also be the exclusive distributor of CAR T-Cell treatments for specific countries within Southeast Asia, namely Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The product, CAR T-Cell immunotherapy for solid cancer, is a cutting-edge health technology that has made huge advancements in healthcare especially in cancer, the second leading cause of mortality worldwide.

“We are making great efforts to keep the product cost low so that it’s more affordable for doctors and patients while also diversifying our earnings from only genome analysis and genetics screening and testing,“ he said in an interview with Bernama recently.

In that regard, the company has held talks with the Ministry of Health, namely the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“We are working with oncologists and hospitals to help prepare protocols for them to be able to work with patients once we are set up and ready,“ he said.

As a point of reference, he said the prices of CAR T-Cell therapies for liquid cancers in Europe and the United States range upwards from US$400,000 (US$1=RM4.05), which is incredibly expensive.

“What we are working to do is to make CAR T-Cell products available for solid cancers at a fraction of that amount, at about 10 per cent of that value.

“The only way we can do that is to work closely with our partner in China, as well as by setting up our own cell manufacturing facility,“ he said.

The company’s laboratory is expected to be ready towards the end of the first quarter of next year, and while waiting for it, they will be working with its principal in China to make the products available as early as next month.

On how the diversification would impact the company’s future outlook, Sasha said the new segment will allow the company to grow in addition to its genome analysis and genetics screening and testing.

“The mandate that we have from shareholders is to improve accessibility to these new and innovative healthcare products and technologies,” he added.

From a financial standpoint, Sasha said the segment would contribute more than 25 per cent to the company’s earnings and turn around the company to profit in the financial year 2022.

“We see our biopharma services segment contributing revenue from the first quarter of next year once the cell manufacturing lab facility is commissioned and operational.

“The CAR T-Cell immunotherapy has a global sales forecast of US$8.7 billion by 2025,“ he said. -Bernama

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