As part of its development goal of becoming an international center for healthcare and medicine by 2036, Thailand is currently aiming to achieve the next level of medical and wellness services by promoting precision medicine for the treatment of more complex diseases, such as cancer and genetic diseases.

The action plan focuses on improving R&D technology and skills training, with the local medical device industry also expected to benefit from cutting-edge innovations and R&D facilities in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) which covers the three provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong in the eastern region of the country. As Thailand’s Industry 4.0 pilot special economic zone, the EEC provides support to all target high-tech industries in the country with facilities that promote the whole process of R&D and development development. innovation, including the Start-up and Innovation Center, the National Quality Infrastructure and the Translational Research Infrastructure.

A foundational project for this plan calls on the Ministry of Public Health to establish the Thailand Center for Genome Sequencing1 in the EEC as a facility to provide clinical services to patients across Southeast Asia and beyond. of the. The planned genome sequencing center2 will be located at Burapha University in Chonburi province, with the laboratory space occupying approximately 1,700 square meters. The genome of 50,000 Thais will be sequenced in the laboratory and their DNA data will be used to build a genomic library under the supervision of the Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI) 3. The first of its kind in ASEAN, the Genomics Library will use the database to enable more efficient development of pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

Of the required investment budget of $ 50 million, half is expected to be funded by the Thai government, with the remainder coming from local and foreign investors. Major local hospitals and businesses have expressed interest in partnering with multinational companies to create a consortium to manage the laboratory. The HSRI and EEC office is in the process of implementing the tendering process.

The Center of Excellence for Genomics and Precision Medicine at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital said it could support and strengthen the entire genome sequencing project. In addition to this, the BOI and the EEC office provided tax and non-tax incentives for foreign companies and experts to work in the EEC.

Wangchan Valley, a smart city project in Rayong province, is another supporting facility in the EEC. Developed as a base for research, development and innovation, Wangchan Valley’s mission also includes the operation of the Kamnoetvidya4 Academy of Sciences which provides world-class education in science, mathematics and technology through scholarships for students of years 10, 11 and 12, in order to prepare the required talents. for high-tech industries in the EEC and across the country.

In a related development, Thammasat University5 confirmed its plan to develop a total digital health solution at its Pattaya campus in Chonburi province. Aiming to improve Thailand’s competitiveness by becoming the regional medical hub, the facility will include centers of excellence in medical services, digital hospitals, an integrated research center and community healthcare solutions. Within the framework of the EECmd Vision 2024, the EEC aims to promote knowledge sharing and networking with local and international institutes in order to improve the skills of researchers and health personnel, as well as to advancing innovation for precision medicine and medical devices.

With a focus on healthcare technologies, Mahidol State University has introduced Salaya Startup Town, which is home to a full ecosystem of laboratories and R&D spaces for engineering, biotechnology, and health technologies. health. The project supports startups and technology incubation by providing a workspace for engineering innovations and advanced medical robotics, as well as its Biomedical and Robotics Technology Center6, HealthCare Logistics Big Data, UN Innovations Lab and Center of Logistics , Management and Healthcare Supply Chain.

In the capital Bangkok, around twenty university medical institutions and research houses have signed an agreement to strengthen their collaboration on research and human clinical trials within the framework of the “Multicenter Medical Innovation Clinical Trial” project. The institutions that have formed a network called “Yothi Medical Innovation District” have worked together to develop medical devices such as portable chest x-ray and its application for patients with non-communicable diseases.

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