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IMU Inked Agreement for New Product Research Development in Medicinal Plants

13 Apr 2021

Research of medicinal plants has always been crucial and important, given the fact that more than 50% of our pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals are in fact plant-derived. Malaysia has one of the most complex tropical rainforest ecosystems in the world. The vast variety of herbs and plants available in this country has rendered a huge potential for medicinal plant research. With the wide ecosystems and biodiversity in plant medicines, there are indeed great opportunities in undertaking research in developing new products in medicinal plants. On 5 April 2021, the International Medical University (IMU) has inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the University of Nottingham together with REM Corporations Sdn Bhd at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus. Present in the ceremony were Prof Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice Chancellor of IMU; Prof Andy Chan, Interim Vice-Provost (Research and Knowledge Exchange) of the University of Nottingham Malaysia; Dr Donald Chen, Managing Director of REM Corporations; Prof Leong Chee Onn, Deputy Director of Research of IMU; as well as Prof Lim Kuan Hon and Assistant Professor Premanand Krishnan from the University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Quick Facts
Total Funding RM200,000 by REM Corporation, which will be shared between IMU and UNM with RM100,000 each over the duration of 2 years
Research Collaboration Involves 3 parties, namely IMU, REM Corporations, and the University of Nottingham Malaysia
Objective of the Project To discover and develop therapeutics from underexplored medicinal plants. There is defintely an increasingly powerful case for revisiting natural products for drug discovery.

In this project, REM Corporations, under the leadership of Dr Donald Chen, will work to authenticate the plants provided for the studies and to supply plant specimens for analyses.

Being a local winery established in 1990, REM Corporations Sdn Bhd is the first company in Malaysia to be granted a manufacturing license for fruit wine and fruit brandy by the Royal Malaysian Customs under the approval of the Ministry of Finance Malaysia. This research collaboration will leverage on the strengths from the three parties. With the plant products supplied by the REM Corporations Sdn Bhd, the research team from University of Nottingham Malaysia under Prof Lim Kuan Hon and Assistant Prof Premanand Krishnan will conduct the research component of collecting and processing of selected plant materials as well as extracting, isolating and structuring characterisation of pure compounds from selected plant materials.

The isolated compounds will then be tested by the research team from IMU consisting of 
Dr Lim Wei Meng
Prof Leong Chee Onn
Dr Wong Lai Chun
Hii Ling Wei

Certainly, this MOA will take the collaboration to the next level, particularly in the discovery and development of potential new therapeutics from medicinal plants. Indeed, it will be an exciting journey to disembark on the discovery of new products.

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