Riding the Biotechnology Wave: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Malaysia's Emerging Biotechnology Industry
Building a sustainable bioeconomy requires strategic alliances, intellectual property,funding and talent. The research focus of this empirical study was to assess Malaysian biotechnology companies regarding their opinions on priorities and capabilities necessary to establish a thriving bioeconomy. The research questions that form the basis of this paper explore the extent to which initial factor endowments affect the trajectory of biotechnology industry development and how Malaysia should prioritise, mobilise and coordinate resources to build a bioeconomy. A mixed methods approach using qualitative interviews and case studies, as well as a quantitative survey, indicated that respondents advocated a resource-based-view in terms of resource allocation and agglomeration towards building Malaysia's bioecnomy. That is, there was strong support to leverage Malaysia's existing capabilities in agriculture and biofuels to derive value-added products towards gaining leadership positions in these respective biotechnology sectors globally. Access to funding and talent emerged as the highest priority capabilities necessary for commercialising discoveries, conducting research and development and accelerating innovation. Respondents perceived the government as having a 'very important' role in building and accelerating the Malaysian biotechnology industry. The gap between required capabilities and strategic priorities provides a framework within which the government may play a central role in coordinate, accelerating and resourcing Malaysia's nascent bioeconomy.