Sengenics Immunome Production Facility launched in UBD

UBD continued its collaboration with Sengenics, a genomic and proteomics-based research and diagnostics company with the opening of the new Sengenics Immunome Production Facility located on the university campus on 3rd April 2017 and the presentation of scholarships to five UBD students.

This new state of the art facility will offer protein cloning and expression services using the patented BCCP (Biotin Carboxyl Carrier Protein) folding marker technology. This will support the commercially available flagship technology that is offered by Sengenics, the Immunome Protein Array Platform, which is used for a variety of pharmaceutical screening and drug discovery applications.

Since the launch of the first genomics and proteomics facility by Sengenics in Brunei Darussalam in October 2015, the company has now doubled its footprint in the country, further developing the Biotechnology industry in Brunei Darussalam. Today, it serves customers from all over the world using Brunei as a hub for exporting high-value, high-technology based services. The establishment of this new facility opens up new and exciting employment opportunities to locals, exposing them to cutting edge technology and innovative research. As part of its commitment towards local human capital development and to ensure technology transfer, Sengenics also granted five Graduate Research Scholarships to students enrolled under UBD.

The ceremony was officiated by Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman, Permenant Secretary (Finance and Economy) at the Prime Minister's office as the personal representative of the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's office, Dato Paduka Hj Mohamad Roselan Hj Daud. During the launching ceremony, the Guest of Honour also witnessed the signing of a scholarship agreement between Sengenics, UBD and the five Masters by Research students. Noor Adlyaini Nur'Afina Nudin, Nur'izzati Ibrahim, Siti Hamizah Hj Zinal Abidin and Siti Farah Hafizah Hj Mat Rasil were given scholarships to pursue Masters in Science in Biotechnology and Masters of Health Science in Biomedical Sciences. Also present to witness the auspicious event were, Benjamin Boddy, Acting British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, Assistant Vice Chancellors of UBD and other senior officials from the Brunei Government and UBD.

In his remarks, Sengenics Chief Executive Officer, Dr Arif Anwar said, "Sengenics has lived up to its promise to the Brunei Government in delivering a world class, commercially driven facility, which not only promotes economic diversification for the country but also intensifies the development of cutting edge knowledge industry through innovation and technology".

"With Brunei as its base, revenue generated from the Brunei operations are predominantly from overseas customers contributing to the export revenue of Brunei. We are very proud to share that just in the last six months alone, Sengenics has secured commercial projects with five out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world. We are indeed going through an exciting phase as a company and we are proud to be sharing this journey with Brunei", he said.

In view of the student scholarships and student research projects, "The Sengenics Graduate Research Scholarship Programme will provide the students a tremendous opportunity to be exposed to breakthrough research with the opportunity to work alongside high profile international collaborators. By working in the Sengenics Lab, the students will also gain much real life experience from being part of the industry having the chance to interact with our Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Jonathan Blackburn, a world renowned expert in the field of proteomics, who is also the inventor of our core flagship technology, the Immunome Protein Array technology", he added.

Professor David Koh, the AVC (Research and Innovation) said during the ceremony, "This Sengenics Graduate Research Scholarships initiative demonstrates a commitment by an industry on building relationships with institutes of higher learning." He stated that such collaboration is crucial, especially when the university wants to pursue innovation and technology transfer, which would bring forth positive and highly effective contributions to achieving Brunei's Wawasan 2035 Vision.

The partnership between UBD and Sengenics stemmed from a research collaboration agreement that started since July 2014 and is hoped to continue especially with the launch of the new facility and the opportunity for its students to work alongside high profile international colllaborators. In its quest to become a competitive world-class higher education and research institution, UBD will continue to strengthen linkages with SMEs and industries.

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