UNILAB to assist biotech firms market natural ingredients

United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab), one of the country’s biggest pharmacuetical firms, is interested in helping biotech companies extracting natural ingredients as source of compounds for the manufacture of medicines.

Jose Maria Echave, Unilab’s vice president for business development, said the company is encouraging scientists to bring their natural pharmaceutical products for possible development and collaboration in marketing the same.

Echave made the statement during the 4th Philippine Biotechnology Venture Summit held at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.

He noted the great potential of the natural ingredients industry. “If you have a very good natural product, we are willing to listen,” Echave said.

The Unilab official added the trend now in pharmaceuticals is to go biologicals. He added that the Philippines has the edge in this potentially huge market since the country has a strong natural ingredients industry.

“In the pharmaceuticals sector the way to go now is biologicals. The era of blockbuster synthetic drugs is about to end,” he said.

Unilab is also encouraging scientists to use biotechnology to develop vaccines. Right now, a Filipino company, Servac Philippines Corp. is developing an anti-rabies serum from the antibodies produced by horses. Servac hopes to make the vaccine commercially available by the end of the year.

Another area in which biotechnology can venture is the development of dengue diagnostic kits. “Anything portable, anything you can bring down to the lowest unit to the community will be very, very useful. It has to be at a good price point, ang tinitingnan namin is P5. If you can come up with drugs that is at P5, then we can do business,” Echave said.

He noted that natural ingredients must be backed up by clinical evidence to make a big splash in the world market.

“There are ways by which we can develop our resources but there has to be a good clinical evidence. Hindi puwedeng endorsement lang,” he said.

Data from the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) showed the Philippines has over 1,500 identified medicinal plants. Some of these plants have been endorsed by the Department of Health (DoH).

These include bayabas, ba-wang, ampalaya, sambong, yerba buena, lagundi, akapulko, pansit-pansitan, tsaang-gubat and niyog-niyogan.

Pascual Laboratories, Inc., the second biggest Filipino pharmaceutical company, has succeeded in marketing phytomedicines (herbal medicines) with anti-cough medicine from lagundi popularly known as Ascof and a medicine from sambong to help prevent kidney stones, Re-Leaf.

Pascual Lab’s Dr. Eliseo Banaynal said the government can help the country’s natural ingredients industry venture deeper into pharmaceuticals industry.

Banaynal said government should help the industry by coming out with a geographical mapping of medicinal plants. – biolife news service(Malaya)

One Response to “UNILAB to assist biotech firms market natural ingredients”

  1. gerardo n villafuerte Says:

    how about program that will encourage farmers to produce these plants and make them available to the pharmaceutical processors?thank you

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