Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals (IPharm) is established in 2006. The institutes aim to be a Biotechnology’s Centers of Excellence by exploiting megadiversity of Malaysian natural resources for the development of new drugs. IPharm therefore has a mission to conduct world-class R&D to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.
IPharm was established as a centre of excellence to spearhead the NBP thrusts by delivering world class R&D in order to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialisation of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products as well as to build the nation’s skilled human resources in Healthcare Biotechnology.
For years, IPharm has established its capacity by developing the infrastructure and human resource. An integrated multi-disciplinary drug discovery team and related technologies including molecular biology, medicinal chemistry synthesis, molecular modeling, automated high-throughput screening, animal pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, and formulation studies have been develop during these years. For the coming years, IPharm will take steps to position as an integrated institute for applied research and development of new pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals (IPharm) was established on 29th November 2006 and Realizing the challenges in developing the healthcare biotechnology is competitive, the Cabinet endorsed the proposal to establish a centre of excellence. This historical decision marks the birth of the Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals (IPharm).
The establishment of the IPharm was approved by the Biotechnology Implementation Council on 7 September 2006 and approved by the Cabinet on 26 November 2006 with two other institutions namely Agro Biotechnology Institute (ABI) and the Malaysian Genome Institute (MGI) under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
IPharm research facility, previously located within Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) campus in Pulau Pinang, was relocated to the interim research facility namely SAINS@USM Complex located at Bukit Jambul, Pulau Pinang in 2008.
Then, in 2011 IPharm has its own building complex strategically located in Halaman Bukit Gambir, Pulau Pinang with area of 10 acres.
In 1 March 2014, all the three institutes established under NBP (IPharm, ABI and MGI) had been transformed and incorporated as National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM), a not for profit government organisation operating as Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). This transformation is a move forward for IPharm in ensuring its vision of becoming a Center of Excellence in research and development in healthcare biotechnology become reality. By this transformation, it is hoped that IPharm will be more independent, surge forward with more proactive and dynamic and focus on revenue generation process which include in the production of products and services.
A team, a shared facility or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training for a focus area.
The Experimental Therapeutics Centre focuses on developing and acquiring new and innovative assays for natural product development and drug discovery. Our research emphasize on high throughput cell-based and cell-free screening systems, as well as whole organism assay system. By adopting these approaches, ETC could explore the research areas such as pluripotent stem cell development, developmental pathway analysis and host-pathogen interaction.
NPDC focuses on discovery of active therapeutic agents from Malaysia’s mega biodiversity natural resources. Research on local plants (My Nature 50,000), microorganisms and metabolites are actively conducted with the aim to isolate as much chemical compounds with potential therapeutic property as possible for the biopharmaceutical industry. Currently, extraction and isolation of natural products are focused on finding therapeutic agents with anti-aging, skin whitening, anti-inflammation, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal activities. In addition, research on Development of Herbal Products is also conducted with aim to address health problems in local community. Herbal remedies have become more popular nowadays as an alternative to conventional drugs and medicine mainly due to the lesser-known side effects compared to the chemical pharmaceutics. In this study, local herbs from Malay, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine will be extracted and formulated as an alternative treatment for diabetes. In vitro and in vivo study will also be conducted to evaluate toxicity anti-diabetic efficacy of the product formulated. NPDC also focuses on drug discovery using in silico methods. Computer-aided drug design is an important tool in drug discovery studies as it provides in-depth understanding of the molecular basis of drugs’ actions and allows exploration of chemical interactions betweendrugs and their receptors. The application of simulated drug design and computational analysis are strategised with an aim of discovering new potential chemical entities from natural resources. Hits obtained from the simulations are further characterised with laboratory work which includes plant extractions.
SPTC has a major role in supporting the overall drug and herbal development activities in IPharm , by providing valuable insight into potential adverse effects of drug candidates. We aim to forward safe and effective lead compound(s) for drug development for IPharm as well as for other organisations requiring these services. The core activities of SPTC include assessment of drug-drug and drug-herb interaction risk and cardiac safety profile during drug/herbal development. Toxicology studies involving animal model are also carried out to determine the safety profiles of lead compounds.
IPharm Animal Research Facility (IPARF) is designed and built to meet the international standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Good Laboratory Practice (OECD-GLP) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) to carry out pre-clinical animal studies and Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) rodent breeding program. IPARF is a separate building next to the IPharm main buildings and it is operated as a restricted-access facility since 2011. The facility has an area of approximately 4000 square meters with animal holding rooms, SPF rodent breeding rooms, cleanroom (class 10,000), surgical room, procedure rooms, Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL 2) laboratory, quarantine room and necropsy rooms. This facility houses equipments such as individually ventilated cages, rotarod testing system for rodents, grip strength testing system for rodents, high capacity steam sterilizers, rack and cage washer and animal drinking bottle station to support preclinical studies and SPF breeding activities. Besides the capability in carrying out GLP toxicity study, researchers can also utilise the facility for the non-GLP animal studies. At present, IPARF is also working closely on collaborations with a biotechnology company and Universiti Sains Malaysia for its SPF rodent breeding program. We have initiated the actions towards achieving the AAALAC accreditation and aiming at providing high quality SPF rodents and animal models to interested parties. All research proposals on animal studies and breeding program will be thoroughly reviewed by the IPharm Animal Ethics Committee (IPAEC) to ensure that all activities comply with the animal research legislation and ethical conduct.
Product Development Research Division develop prototype at lab scale for optimization & pilot scale for registration purpose so that research works related to pharmaceuticals & nutraceuticals from IPharm or outside, catering for local universities, government agencies and small/medium industries prior to commercialization. This can be accomplished either by contract manufacturing or distributorship appointment. This centre provide development services in the areas of drug delivery/formulation, nanoparticles, drug-eluting devices, analytic chemistry, bioanalytics, and drug product and device manufacturing. IPharm in the process of building a cGMP facilities for solid oral, liquid and semi solid dosage forms.
An interdisciplinary research cooperation projects
In modern drug design pipelines, great amount of interest fall into further development of in silico screening in particularly at the initial stages of drug development cycle. In silico screening is relatively more cost effective and fast as compared to the conventional high throughput screening. This approach has gradually made inroads by their more rational approach, to expedite the drug discovery and development process.
IPharm has the expertise to investigate the structure, function, and dynamics of complex biological systems. At the interface of chemistry, biology, physics, and pharmacology, IPharm research integrates both applied and basic science components,with goals to bridge the interface between basic and clinical research.
Currently, virtual screening and molecular modelling studies on anti-obesity, anti-dengue, anti-diabetes are being explore to understand the mechanism of nteraction involved and to screen for natural and chemical compounds that could be develop into potential leads.
The MyNature 50,000 National Repository operates as a repository Malaysian plants extracts, fractions, partitions and natural product/natural chemical, which are characterized to facilitate the discovery and development of therapeutic agents. The repository includes 500 plants extracts samples collected from various parts of Malaysia, natural products (partitions and fractionations of different organic solvent). Under this resource, MyNature 50,000 National Repository aims to assist academic and private sectors to overcome financial and technical barriers and facilitate the discovery of promising therapeutic agents.
Current Projects :
- Development of natural products library from Malaysian biodiversity for systematic discovery of potential active therapeutic agents for obesity.
- Product development from Malaysian plants extracts.
IPharm Animal Research Facility (IPARF) is designed and built to meet the international standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Good Laboratory Practice (OECD-GLP) and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) to carry out preclinical animal studies and Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) rodent breeding program. We are talking to Bio Con. Malaysia for QC of Bio similar product contract services.
The following laboratory services are available:
- Histopathology Laboratory offers service in preparing histology/histopatholgy slides and staining techniques. The Histology Laboratory houses automatic tissue processor, paraffin embedding station (with cold plate), rotary microtome, tissue floatation bath, tissue flattening table and autostainer.
- Hematology and biochemistry analysis
The testing is used to determine toxicity level of substances to the cell line by quantification assay such as MTT ( 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. MTT assay is one of the quantitative evaluations of cytotoxicity where the viability of cells is measured via their metabolic activity. In metabolically active cells, the production of succinate dehydrogenase reduces the yellow water-soluble MTT reagent and forms a blue-violet insoluble formazan product. This formazan can be solubilised in alcohol and detected via photometric measurement. The numbers of viable cells are therefore determined by the colour intensity produced during MTT reduction. This assay is commonly applied in drug screening research to examine the safety doses of drug candidates and minimizes cytotoxicity effect. Cytotoxicity assay shall be carried out before in vivo tests are commenced
Services Offered :
MTT assay applicable to nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, herbs, medical devices and various types of test samples.
IPharm building complex strategically located in Halaman Bukit Gambir, Pulau Pinang beside Azman Hashim USM Sport Arena.