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Unilab open to using 'biologicals'
by Amy Remo
24-April-2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines--United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab), one of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, has expressed interest in helping biotech firms use natural ingredients in producing medicines, the Department of Agriculture said.

In a statement, Unilab vice president for business development Jose Maria Echave said the company encouraged scientists to bring their natural pharmaceutical products for possible development, collaboration and marketing.

“If you have a very good natural product, we are willing to listen,” Echave said, noting the great potential of the natural ingredients sector.

Echave added that the trend in pharmaceuticals was to go “biological.”

“The Philippines has the edge in this potentially huge market since the country has a strong natural ingredients industry,” he said.

“In the pharmaceuticals sector, the way to go now is biologicals. The era of blockbuster synthetic drugs is about to end,” Echave said.

Unilab said it was also encouraging scientists to use biotechnology to develop vaccines.

Filipino-owned firm Servac Philippines Corp. is currently developing an anti-rabies serum from the antibodies produced by horses.

Servac hopes to make the vaccine commercially available by the end of the year.

Another area in which biotechnology can venture into is development of dengue diagnostic kits.

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