Biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca has partenered with Sunway University via its innovation arm, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs) to establish the first Health Innovation Hub (HIH) in Malaysia.
The Hub is part of the AstraZeneca A.Catalyst Network, an interconnected global network of more than 20 AstraZeneca health innovation hubs.
In line with the Malaysian government’s call for digital innovation in the healthcare sector, the Hub will empower local startups and innovators to deliver new, sustainable solutions which will bolster the treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and support the patient experience, starting at the primary-care level.
AstraZeneca Malaysia’s Country President, Dr. Sanjeev Panchal said that AstraZeneca plays a vital role to in supporting Malaysia’s battle against NCDs by strengthening their primary care ecosystem with solutions beyond the pill.
“By allowing digital technology into healthcare, we can solve healthcare problems ‘beyond the pill’ by providing digital solutions that are affordable, universal, high-quality, and patient-centric. This creates unique experiences for patients which ultimately delivers more powerful healthcare over the longer term.
With the establishment of the Health Innovation Hub (HIH) in Malaysia, AstraZeneca aims to create partnerships with local healthcare innovators and provide them with the platform and tools needed to build sustainable ecosystems and further drive digital health innovation. This is aligned with the government’s priorities to integrate new technologies into patient pathways to combat the impact of NCDs,” Dr. Sanjeev added.
The Covid-19 outbreak pushes for the innovations in the healthcare sector in terms of adopting digital tools.
“The outbreak made us think in a different way and strives for the better as the adoption of digital tools are needed likewise the MySejahtera app. From becoming a place scanner app to a super app, which is to register for the vaccines,” Deputy Director-General of Health Dr. Hishamshah said.
AstraZeneca is co-creating challenge-based solutions with and for patients, and working with partners to establish integrated healthcare systems that benefit the whole patient experience through the A.Catalyst Network.
“The HIH joint initiative by Sunway iLabs and AstraZeneca is well aligned with Sunway iLabs’ vision to become ASEAN’s leading integrated innovation platform that inspires people to design, test and launch sustainable solutions for a better future.
“Together with AstraZeneca, we look forward to driving healthcare solutions and innovations that will impact lives,” Chief Innovation Officer of Sunway Group and Director of Sunway iLabs, Matt Van Leeuwen said.
Malaysia’s hub now becomes part of AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network, bringing together digital, R&D and commercial resources to improve patient outcomes.
Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI, Khairy Jamaluddin has emphasised that the establishment of the HIH is a good start for Malaysia to startegise a robust primary care in the healthcare sector in the country.
“MOSTI will be there to support the HIH, and the hub is a good starting research and development (R&D) platform for the local stakeholders and startups in Malaysia especially during the Covid-19 outbreak, when we, the Government, had a wakeup call.
With the HIH as a start, the Government has decided to buck up the facilities for future outbreak vaccines like in the development of the vaccine, production of human-safe vaccines until the manufacturing of the vaccines itself,” he added during the keynote address.
During the Q&A media session, Dr. Hishamshah said that the HIH can create a better public-private collaboration as the HIH is not only a private driver to healthcare innovation but it is more on the whole nation approach.
“We hope that this is the beginning of better things to come in terms of public-private sector collaboration as they will be no sole Government driver because we want to cooperate and look at the issues together not separately,” he concluded.