The Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB) celebrated its 25th Anniversary yesterday (28 November 2013). The ceremony was officiated by Miss Janet W.C. Wong, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, and Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
The Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, Miss Janet W.C. Wong, emphasized the Government’s commitment towards supporting the development of the local biotechnology industry. The Innovation & Technology Fund (ITF) has been established for 15 years to support technological development in Hong Kong. More than seven billion dollars has been injected into different projects among which 280 were biotech related. HKIB has collaborated with the ITC for many years. The presently ongoing GMP training offered by HKIB for the Chinese medicine manufacturers in Hong Kong is one such example. She stressed the importance of these efforts to raise the local Chinese medicine manufacturing industry to GMP standard.
Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, mentioned that a centre for phase one clinical trial would be established at CUHK. He expressed his desire for HKIB to further expand its present scope of activities to support clinical research in Hong Kong.
HKIB is a subsidiary of the Council of CUHK and its formation was proposed in 1988 by Prof. Charles K. Kao, Nobel Laureate and former Vice-Chancellor of CUHK and Prof. C. N. Yang, Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor-at-Large of CUHK. Biotechnology is considered a new wave of technology that will revolutionize people’s life and living standard. With a HK$170 million donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the building complex currently housing the Institute was completed in 1992.
The years spanning 1994 to 2000 were critical for HKIB to build up its infrastructure. The Government has been most supportive of this effort. Through various grants, the Institute was able to build up a GMP facility for the manufacture of biologics, a Pharmaceutical Technology Center to train and support local pharmaceutical companies and a Chinese medicine manufacturing plant for process development purposes. These facilities are currently being utilized by companies in Hong Kong. HKIB enjoys the benefits of being the focal point of collaboration among academia, government and industry. HKIB is now self-supporting and has been operating on a business basis to undertake collaborative projects with companies.
The operation of HKIB focuses in 4 major areas, namely incubation of small startup companies, biologics, Chinese medicine and Good Manufacture Practice (GMP) consultation. Over the years, its biologics infrastructure and Chinese medicine manufacture facilities have supported many companies in technology, process and product development. HKIB has participated in the transition of the Hong Kong pharmaceutical industry to GMP standard in the past. It is now helping the local Chinese medicine manufacturers to upgrade their production to GMP standard. Looking into the future, Hong Kong should take a more proactive role in expanding its technology and industry base in order to further diversify the economy. HKIB will continue to leverage upon its unique position to foster cooperation amongst the Government, industry, academia and research sectors.