Bio-tech company eyes Halal hub in Brunei

Dato Paduka Timothy Ong welcoming the delegation from Transcu Ltd,
a Singapore-based bio-technology company, as well as senior Brunei
government officials to the iCentre. Photos: Yusrin Junaidi

Against the backdrop of Brunei’s Halal brand initiative and the US$200 billion Halal market, the country now seems to
be venturing into the bio-industry with the introduction of technology that may revolutionise medical care, with special
considerations to Halal regulations.

At the invitation of the Brunei Economic Development Board, Transcu Ltd, a Singapore-based bio-technology
company, gave a presentation yesterday at the iCentre on the development of its revolutionary system for non-invasive
delivery of medicine into the human body.

Led by its CEO, Mr Akihiko Matsumura, the delegation arrived yesterday with the intent of exploring the possibility of
partnerships with Brunei investors as well as 

“The BEDB is aggressively seeking to attract high value added investments to Brunei in line with our mission to create
new opportunities for our people,” said Dato Paduka Timothy Ong, Acting Chairman of the BEDB, who was present to
welcome the delegation.

Transcu Ltd with subsidiaries in Japan and USA specialises in the development of Drug Delivery System (DDS)
technologies. The non-invasive transdermal drug delivery systems efficiently delivers drugs for a wide variety of
medical and cosmetic applications, replacing the existing conventional methods such as injections, oral administrations
and patches.

These systems solve issues usually experienced through conventional methods as it eliminates pain and risks of
infection with rare instances of side-effects. They are also cost competitive and do not require the help of a healthcare

Transcu’s first original pharmaceutical product, iontophoretic local anasthesia (Lidocaine and epinephrine), is currently
awaiting US FDA approval in the next year, with about 15 other products still awaiting clinical trials.

In an interview, the CEO, Mr Matsumura, remarked on Brunei’s potential in bio-industry. “This is our chance and
starting point to collaborate and cultivate the industry in Brunei,” he said. “In other countries we have collaborated
with, we have established manufacturing agents to produce our product. In Korea and Taiwan, we have the biggest
pharmaceutical companies in each country,” he added.

The company has agents in the US, Europe, China, Indonesia and have just recently concluded agreements with
Indonesia. The current biggest issue the company is now embarking on is the manufacturing of drugs for Muslim
countries. “Manufacturing drugs for Muslim countries is different from other countries, so agents are required to
manufacture these drugs and devices,” said Mr Matsumura, adding that the products also require local Halal

The presentation was also attended by the Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera
Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, the Managing Director of the
Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), Dr Amin Liew Abdullah, the Chairman of the Sungai
Liang Authority, Pengiran Kerma Raja Pengiran Haji Kamarulzaman, and CEO of
BEDB, Mr Vincent Cheong.