What is “Biotech” ?
The word “Biotech” is a combination of two words, namely biology and technology. Therefore, Biotech can be defined as the learning of technology to provide benefits to living organisms. That way we can conclude that Biotech startup is a startup company that makes technological products that have benefits for living things.
From this definition, surely the first thing that comes to our mind is a company in the medical field that makes medicines or medical machines. This is not wrong, the majority of large startup biotech companies focus on the medical field but there are also those that focus on the food and culinary fields such as the Beyond Meats company which makes meat that is completely made from vegan ingredients.
Potential in Indonesia
Currently, biotech companies are still mostly held by large companies and are still not widely spread in Indonesia. Startup companies in Indonesia are still more focused on services than the development of biotech technology. This is due to various factors such as complex state regulations and high funding, but the biggest factor is the lack of manpower, especially for research and development. Biotech startups cannot only rely on human resources in the field of Informatics Engineering but also in the fields of multi-technology, medicine, chemistry, biology, nanotechnology, etc.
This is very unfortunate because startups in the biotech sector have considerable prospects in Indonesia, moreover, it is more driven by the covid 19 pandemic. The Indonesian government also encourages the growth of biotech startups in Indonesia. Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin encouraged Indonesian investors to support the development of biotechnology in Indonesia to produce pharmaceutical products that can compete in the global market.
Various examples of biotech startups in Indonesia
This company produces an alternative product to synthetic vanilla which is found in the majority of beauty and culinary products. Because vanillin is an expensive ingredient, the company makes alternative products that use agricultural waste, such as coconut fiber, straw, and cocoa husks.
This startup is one of the startups on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. This company designed a Covid-19 test kit for Biofarma by applying genomic technology. In June 2020, Nusantics succeeded in distributing 100,000 test kits throughout Indonesia
This company makes alternative products that replace food for farm animals. Magalarva made farm food made from flies because it was found that fly processing can produce cheaper and more sustainable protein for animal feed.
By looking at the potential that exists, it is unfortunate that in fact there are still not many biotech startups in Indonesia. Maybe because the process is tough, not many new players dare to enter the world of Biotech even though they have ideas for interesting and innovative products. Indonesia cannot continue to rely on old players in the biotech field and must encourage the growth of biotech startups by collaborating with educational institutions to produce quality human resources. In addition to boosting the Indonesian economy in the pharmaceutical market, Biotech startups can also be a solution to accelerate the completion of the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia.