Marine Biotechnology in other South-East Asia countries

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Brunei Darusssalam

There are mariculture projects in Brunei, and biodiversity/ecology research, but little or no evidence of marine biotechnology.


No Biotechnology or Marine Biotechnology strategies are in evidence. There is a National Capacity Action Plan 2007-2016 responding to UN Conventions, and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and a Government Rectangular Strategy 2009-2013 (which mentions fisheries reforms and making better use of natural resources including biodiversity). These all focus on prevention of damage to biodiversity rather than sustainable development and use[1].

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

The National Authority for Science and Technology NAST was established in 2007 and has a Biotechnology Center.


Little information except that a number of Universities are involved in marine science and/or biotechnology, e.g. Mawlamyine University, MandalayTechnological University and the Technological University Dawei.

The Philippines

DOST (the Department of Science and Technology) funds, and PCAARRD (the Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic Resources Research and Development) coordinate the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development System (NARRDS) and its R&D projects and programs. One of the NARRDS programmes is The Philippine PharmaSeas Drug Discovery Program. PharmaSeas is focused on bioactives from marine organisms, including anti-infectives from sponges and their symbionts and further exploration of pain-control using marine snail venoms [2].

The first biotechnology establishment in the Philippines was the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB). Of the four national centres that are part of NARRDS, UP-Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) and UP in the Visayas (UPV) are involved in marine biotechnology R&D and UPLB is involved in industrial and agricultural biotechnology. UPMSI is the lead on the PharmaSeas programme and also works in ecoinformatics, culture optimisation and molecular characterisation to support marine bioresource development. Macroalgal research is carried out by several colleges and government centres, including UPMSI (which hosts the Seaweed Information Center in Quezon City); the Colleges of Fisheries at UPV and at Bicol University; the Marine Biological Laboratory at Silliman University; the University of San Carlos; the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Iloilo; and the Fisheries Resources Research Division, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The Philippines is a major producer of seaweeds and marine colloids.


A National Biotechnology Development Strategy was established in 2000. Singapore has invested heavily in biotechnology but this is entirely devoted to human genomics, human healthcare and advanced biomedicine. There has been some investigation of bioactives from marine organisms but marine biotechnology activity is not high. Research at NUS, the National University of Singapore [3], includes marine biotechnology (in Microbiology, Systems Biology/Biotechnology Group) but NUS’s Marine Biology Laboratory [4] does not seem to have links with NUS’s Biotech Cluster Group. Some private investment is noted, including investment into use of freshwater sponges to clean up wastewater contaminants, by the Singapore Delft Water Alliance SDWA [5], whose Dutch partner is Porifarma BV, founded 2008-9 but it is not clear what progress has been made so far. One company MerLion Pharmaceuticals works with extensive natural product collections, including some of marine origin.

Sri Lanka

There is a National Committee on Biotechnology and a National Plan 2009-2015 but there is very little public investment in biotechnology, including marine biotechnology.



This draft country profile is based on available online information sources and contributions from various country experts and stakeholders. It does not aim nor claim to be complete or final, but should be considered as a dynamic and living information resource that will be elaborated, updated and improved as more information becomes available, including further inputs from experts and stakeholders.

The information on this page is based on information initially compiled by Meredith Lloyd-Evans (BioBridge) as part of the CSA MarineBiotech Project activities (2011-2013).