Kazakhstan weighs life sciences and precision medicine as a new economic sector
The economic value of integrating healthy life-extension technologies into national healthcare systems is undeniable, resulting in increased population productivity, healthier citizens and growth of novel industries. Billions of dollars can be saved through a decreased and delayed burden on the pension system and on healthcare spending for the treatment of age-related diseases.
The Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) is working with the UK's Centre for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), alongside a team drawn from the Kazakhstan government, Nazarbayev University and other academic leaders to establish the potential for a Precision & Personalised Medicine Initiative in Kazakhstan.
"Our ambition is to establish a global translational platform for biotech companies to accelerate R&D and commercialisation processes of innovative technologies to treat biological ageing and age-related diseases. We have already started extensive work to streamline the regulatory environment, create advanced clinical trial capabilities and advanced therapy manufacturing facilities and form a pool of potential biotech partners" said Avi Roy, President of BGRF.
Kazakhstan can be considered a role model of government ambition and willpower by adopting innovations and cutting-edge biomedical technologies a key driver for economic growth.
The country has already invested significantly in the creation of an academic and industrial base by establishing one of the most advanced universities in Central Asia, Nazarbayev University; the National Medical Holding which consists of 6 specialised medical centers with state of the art equipment and highly qualified staff, the National Institute for Biotechnology and the Astana Business Campus, which promises to become a Silicon Valley for progressive biomedical technologies.
"The program we are developing is first of its kind, but may serve as a model for other countries that are committed to innovation and technological progress. The idea is simple: identify the most promising technologies required to extend healthy productive longevity for the entire population to keep people healthier and more productive for as long as it is possible. To do that we partnered with the best minds from all over the world and conducted thorough analytical studies", said Zhaxybay Zhumadilov, General Director of the National Laboratory Astana, Nazarbayev University.
So far two joint workshops have been completed, one in Oxford and another in Astana at the Nazarbayev University, coinciding with the 4th International Conference on Regenerative Medicine and Healthy Aging. At this second workshop the first results of the scoping study were presented and reviewed by prominent scientists, industry players and policy makers including the head of CASMI Prof. Richard Barker, former director of the Human Genome Project, Prof. Charles Cantor, president of Nazarbaev University, Shigeo Katsu, General Director of Nazarbayev University, Prof. Zhaxybay Zhumadilov, dean of School of Medicine of Nazarbayev University and Prof. Massimo Pignatelli.
About the Biogerontology Research Foundation
The Biogerontology Research Foundation (a registered charity in England and Wales; registration number 1124054) seeks to fill a gap within the research community, whereby the current scientific understanding of the ageing process is not yet being sufficiently exploited to produce effective medical interventions. The BGRF will fund research which, building on the body of knowledge about how ageing happens, will develop biotechnological interventions to remediate the molecular and cellular deficits which accumulate with age and which underlie the ill-health of old age.
The Centre for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI) is a collaboration between the University of Oxford and University College London, created to develop new models for medical innovation. The centre aims to address the issues that have led to previous failures in the translation of basic bioscience into affordable and widely adopted new treatments.
About National Laboratory Astana
National Laboratory Astana at Nazarbayev University includes the Center for Life Sciences, Interdisciplinary Instrumental Center and Center for Energy Research. The main goals of the institution are carrying out multidisciplinary basic and/or applied research in the field of life sciences, energy, and other interdisciplinary areas of science, as well as activities to establish a scientific laboratory, experimental bases, centers, institutes for the development and implementation of scientific, scientific and technical, educational programs and training.