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Our biweekly roundup of news for those with a bioentrepreneurial bent kicks off in 2012 with stops in China, Japan and Panama. If you feel like we’ve missed something important in your corner of the world, please post a link to the article in the comments.

* SmartPlanet introduces us to one of China’s fast-rising biotechs, Beijing-based biochip company CapitalBio. The 10-year-old company employs 500 staff and recently inked a 100 million RMB (about $US 15 million) contract to provide Beijing’s city government with biochip diagnosis kits to screen all of the city’s newborn babies for a potentially deafness-causing allergy to antibiotics. Though rightly bullish about his company’s prospects, CapitalBio CEO Jing Cheng is also unusually candid about the challenges faced by Chinese biotechs, including the country’s bureaucratic healthcare system and massive brain drain problem, resulting in an urgent shortage of talent. Read it here.

* With the rise of biotech in Asia comes an increased demand for cell culture media. According to Genetic Engineering News, Irvine Scientific’s recently opened 18,500 square-foot cell culture media manufacturing facility in Tokyo will serve the growing demand for media in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, and to provide “redundancy” with its 75,000 square-foot facility in Santa Ana, California.  Full article here.

* The Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF), started last year to support projects in developing countries that promote access to and sharing of the benefits of biodiversity, has chosen its first grant recipient— a joint venture between the government of Panama, research institutions and private sector companies that will develop a database on biodiversity and natural products. The NPIF will contribute $1 million to the $4.4 million, three-year project.  Click here for more.

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Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Biotechnology