On 15 January 2010, Virbac (Thailand) Co., Ltd. held a Grand Opening Ceremony of the Virbac Animal Health, Biotechnology R&D Center in Asia, located at the incubator unit of BIOTEC Building, Thailand Science Park.
Virbac is a company dedicated to animal health. Present in more than 100 countries, the company develops, makes and distributes the widest range of products and services intended for the prevention and treatment of the main pathologies in companion and food producing animals.
On the occasion of the launching of the R&D Center in Asia, BIOTEC Public Relations had an opportunity to interview Mr. Marc Le Poul, Area RDL Manager, Asia about Virbac’s decision to setup the regional R&D center at BIOTEC, Thailand.
What made Virbac decide to setup a R&D center in Thailand?
Virbac is not new to Thailand. We have a regional HQ office in Thailand that has been operating for more than 15 years. Virbac consider Thailand as one of our main markets to distribute animal health products for swine, poultry, as well as companion animals (dogs, cat, etc). We do have a manufacturing facility in Vietnam that is GMP standard. However, we need to upgrade our product development and we see Thailand as a very good platform (human resource, university network, natural resources, etc) to achieve this objective. In addition, we have already established good working relations with local universities in areas related to subcontracting research for clinical trials. The R&D center will also help in following up on future clinical studies in addition to developing new biotechnology products (probiotics for aquaculture, improve livestock farming environment, and bio remediation for aquaculture environment). Virbac is also interested in natural resources such as local herbs and microorganisms for development of quality traditional medicine products and Thailand has abundant of these resources. So, I think Virbac has made a very good decision.
Why establish the R&D center in Thailand Science Park (TSP)?
As I mentioned, we are interested in natural resources and microorganism and BIOTEC is considered to have available a very good collection of natural microorganisms. In addition, Dr. Patcharaporn Wongsa who is the Manager of the new R&D center was a researcher at BIOTEC therefore there is already an established connection to why we choose to setup the R&D center at TSP. We have a very good working relationship with Dr. Wai Prathumpai (BIOTEC Fermentation Lab) on Omega Balance project so this helps to cement our decision to setup the center at TSP.
Do you foresee additional research collaborations as a result of the setting up of the new R&D center?
Definitely yes. We have a few projects that we are looking at in the areas of traditional medicine, alternative solution for the replacement of antibiotics for the export of poultry and aquaculture sector. You mentioned the area of antibody array research for food safety purposes; this is something quite interesting and one which we can pursue to explore for food producing animals sector.
What are your expectations from the R&D Center and from TSP/BIOTEC?
An internal expectation is to be able to develop 2-3 new products every year from this R&D center. As you are aware, it takes about 2-3 years from establishing product development ideas to commercialization. Therefore, the target is to be able to propose to either the FDA or the Fisheries Dept 2-3 new products per year. There is also the other dimension of increasing our networking activities. We want to be considered in Thailand as a “partner of choice” for research and business collaboration. We are quite well-known in Europe but we need to do more in Thailand.
Any last comments for our readers and/or BIOTEC researchers?
We hope to begin operation of the new R&D center within a few weeks and we are open to discussing any possible research collaboration in the area of animal health. We currently have 3 full time staff and will soon recruit one additional microbiologist staff, so we will have 4 staffs to run the R&D center. The new R&D center is in room # 113 (1st Fl., BIOTEC Bldg in the TSP Tenant Zone).
Posted on 15 January 2010.