Pakistan's first biotech plant

Pakistan has launched its first biopharma company BF Biosciences based in Lahore, to manufacture interferon-a for hepatitis treatment. BF Biosciences is a joint venture between Pakistan's largest pharmaceutical company, Ferozsons of Lahore, and Argentine pharma Bagó, with a total investment of 600 million rupees ($7.2 million). Hepatitis affects 7–10% of the Pakistani population, and this manufacturing plant will enable the country to become self-sufficient. At the same time, Pakistan's government has announced a 294 million rupees ($3.53 million) injection over the next five years to build up its biotech sector in agriculture and healthcare. The financial boost will focus on upgrading existing scientific facilities, and establishing research institutes for wheat and cotton. “The government has, for many years, identified biotechnology as a major national priority in science,” says Anwar Nasim, president of the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations and chairman of Pakistan's National Commission on Biotechnology. “We are at the stage now in Pakistan where we have done enough research in the lab and we are now ready to scale up and commercialize.” Nasim adds that government has put 2 billion rupees ($24 million) into biotech over the last year or so. Pakistan will also officially start cultivation of Bacillus thuringiensis cotton next year, following the lead of the world's other top cotton producers, the United States, India and China.

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Aldridge, S. Pakistan's first biotech plant. Nat Biotechnol 27, 788 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0909-788b

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