On April 28, 2005, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia launched the National Biotechnology Policy to give impetus to developing the biotechnology sector into a new economic engine and also to enhance prosperity and wellness of the nation by 2020. National Biotechnology Policy has recognised healthcare biotechnology as one of the main thrust areas that form the framework for the development of biotechnology in Malaysia. Since Malaysia has been identified as one of 12 megabiodiversity countries in the world, one of the main aims of the healthcare biotechnology sector is to exploit our vast natural resources for the discovery, development and commercialisation of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
On 29 November 2006, Malaysian cabinet approved the setting up of Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals (IPHARM) under the auspices of National Biotechnology Division, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) as a national centre of excellence in R&D to spearhead and propel the nation healthcare biotechnology sector.
The focus of IPHARM is to accelerate the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, and, diagnostics through R&D activities, and more importantly, to realise the national agenda of healthcare biotechnology, in particular, and, biotechnology, in general.