InterMed to tap Malaysia's 'biodiversity hotspot'

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology

German natural product innovator, InterMed Discovery, has joined with a Malaysian herbal specialist to “investigate and commercialise” botanicals in what is considered one of the world’s “biodiversity hotspots”.

IMD will support Biotropics Malaysia Berhad with its bioactive expertise in researching and commercialising the bioactive potential of both known and yet to be discovered plants growing in one of the world’s oldest rainforests.

Compelling project

“In Biotropics we have found a partner that has a compelling project to build a portfolio,” ​said IMD managing director, Bernard Becker. “They are building a portfolio of products based on Malaysia’s rich and largely untapped biodiversity.”

The alliance has won the blessing of the Malaysian government with any commercial benefits being shared among local peoples.

There were no plans to enter into similar partnerships in other Asian countries.

While Becker would not reveal the terms of the deal, he said the sophistication of IMD’s existing 20,000-strong herbal products database would be employed in conjunction with Biotropics’ local knowledge.

“We can contribute our IMD bio-profiling to this project in order to support Biotropics in generating the required level of innovation and generating the leads that will see those bioactives brought to market,”​ Becker told

The long-term project seeks to develop herbal supplements and medicines, food supplements, functional food ingredients as well as cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredients.

“It is a significant step forward for our company because it broadens the application of our technology platform,” ​said Becker. “It is also a significant boost to our revenue stream.”

Compounds database

In March IMD entered into an arrangement that gave fellow German supplier, Cognis, access to its natural compounds database.

Cognis and IMD have been working on about 10 projects to bring some of those bioactives to market, with Becker saying the project was “on-track”​ to deliver end-products in the short-term.

IMD has divided its herbal database into three core areas: brain, cardiovascular and weight management.

Becker said IMD’s database could be utilised by suppliers and supplements manufacturers seeking to build dossiers for Traditional Herbal Medicinal Product Directive (THMPD) registrations required before 2011.

IMD was created in a management buy-out from BayerHealthCare in 2006. It has a presence in international nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals industries.

Its database is derived from a host of plants as well as edible materials such fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.

In March, Cognis Nutrition and Health director of strategic business, Norbert Weitkemper, said:

"The combination of IMD's natural product data and active ingredients with Cognis' know-how and market expertise in nutrition and cosmetics creates a unique platform for the development of new, innovative products and thus strengthens our market position sustainably."

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