"The Impact of Biotechnology on
Transformation of Traditional Business"
By Mr Leon Lam
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
CK Life Sciences
THE IMPACT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY ON TRANSFORMATION OF
Thank you for inviting me to this distinguished forum! As the conference
is one that addresses "Asia Pacific Innovation and Entrepreneurship",
I would like to share with you CK Life Sciences' insight on "The
impact of biotechnology on transformation of traditional business."
I will start by looking at the potential of biotechnology to create
opportunities for innovation within a wide range of industries.
Then I will focus on how CK Life Sciences has utilized biotechnology
to revolutionize traditional practices. This case study covers the
agricultural, environmental and human health industries.
Biotechnology – potential to revolutionize traditional
Biotechnology is a branch of technology concerned with forms of
industrial production that use micro-organisms and their biological
Essentially, we are talking about a new branch of science, with
the power to transform business in the same way electricity did
in the 1800s.
Electricity provided the opportunity to revolutionize our way of
life. New businesses and products were possible due to electricity
and indeed, electricity was one of the new forms of power that defined
the industrial revolution.
Biotechnology offers the same opportunities. By harnessing this
new technology, we can slow food spoilage, inhibit inflammation,
develop cleaner, more energy efficient production processes, break
down environmental pollutants and control disease.
In other words, biotechnology can provide solutions to the pressing
problems in our world and consequently offer great opportunities
to transform business.
We are at the start of this revolution and we are only beginning
to see the impact of using micro-organisms and biological substances
to perform specific industrial or manufacturing process.
Going forward, biotechnology not only will change and innovate
the world, but also will transform traditional business practices
and provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship.
Case of CK Life Sciences
CK Life Sciences is a biotechnology company that has harnessed
the power of yeast. We have discovered that there are strains of
yeast that can be activated to perform a specific task.
The same yeasts that are used to bake bread or brew beer have powerful
dormant characteristics. CK Life Sciences has developed a proprietary
technology to identify and activate these strains to perform biological
This yeast technology is used in a wide range of applications in
the fields of agricultural, environmental remediation and human
Thus, CK Life Sciences is using new technology to revolutionize
these industries, and creating entrepreneurship opportunities for
other businesses to leverage.
Let us take a look at these three industries and how biotechnology
has initiated transformation. We will first start to look at the
existing problems in each industry, then discuss how biotechnology
brings about innovation to the traditional business and conclude
by seeing how CK Life Sciences takes this opportunity to develop
a number of innovative products.
The agricultural industry is in a period of immense change. Worldwide,
we are starting to notice degradation of our soil and water resources
that grow the food we eat.
Soils that used to be rich in nutrients and organic matters are
becoming wastelands, choked with salt and chemicals.
Waterways that were once crystal clear are becoming choked with
algae caused by excessive nutrients, and natural wonders such as
the Great Barrier Reef are turning into marine deserts.
A number of international studies have identified that the use
of chemical fertilizers in growing crops is one of the major causes
for the above polluted environment.
We know that the basic nutrients for plants to grow are nitrogen,
phosphorous and potassium. In order to achieve high yields, fertilizers
with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are always applied at high
rates to plants. However, normally plants do not need such amount
of NPK. As a result, excessive nutrients are either leaching into
soils or running off into waterways, causing damages to our environment.
This leaves us in a difficult situation ------chemical fertilizers
are needed to maintain the high levels of production we desire,
and yet they are slowly killing the resources that nurture our food
Of course there are a number of non-chemical fertilizers that can
grow crops without making the environment polluted. But the question
is: how to use less or non-chemical fertilizers and still maintain
high yields in crops so as to ensure enough food to feed our populations?
We believe biotechnology is the answer.
Biotechnology enables the invention of a new form of fertilizer
that maintains crop yields while protecting the environment.
CK Life Sciences has developed an environmentally friendly fertilizer,
NutriSmart that uses the yeast technology to supply the plant with
the nutrients it requires.
NutriSmart can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, decompose phosphorous
into ingredients, and make phosphorous and potassium available in
the soil, as and when, the crops need them. Therefore, no excessive
N, P, and K would be leached into soil and waterways.
Besides, crops which are grown with fewer chemicals by using fertilizer
such as NutriSmart are reported to be tastier and healthier: with
higher sugar content but lower carcinogenic nitrate level.
In short, products like NutriSmart have transformed agriculture
into substainable agriculture, i.e. maintaining high yield of crop
production while preserving resources for future generations.
In fact, many countries such as the United States and Australia
are becoming very concerned about sustainable agriculture. They
are exploring new technologies to enhance soil health and to purify
waterways. As the sustainable agriculture tends to grow, we will
see more biotechnology products to replace chemical fertilizers,
and new industries to support these products.
What CK Life Sciences has realized is that the agricultural industry
can go hand in hand with the environmental remediation industry.
As we find new ways to grow our food, we also need to identify
how to clean up environmental pollution.
One of the key concerns is the quality of water. Many countries
are experiencing or having trouble in supplying clean water to their
Despite operating water treatment plants at full capacity, there
is still not enough clean water for the whole population in the
A solution is desperately needed to this problem, and biotechnology
is the key to this solution.
CK Life Sciences has again used its yeast-based technology to develop
a bioremediation product called WonderTreat.
WonderTreat is an all natural product that is used to clean wastewater,
and remove pathogens. It can treat wastewater faster and more effective
than current conventional methods without producing any harmful
by-products. It has been proven that WonderTreat can improve the
efficiency of a wastewater treatment plant by up to 30%.
Same as a number of biotechnology products, CK Life Sciences discovered
that WonderTreat could perform a second function, i.e. to be applied
to animal manure to render the pathogens inert and produce environmentally
WonderTreat can compost animal manure faster than current methods,
and remove a lot more odour. This compost can then be used as a
substrate for the NutriSmart granule, therefore creating closed
loop, sustainable farming.
For example, livestock farmers can use WonderTreat to break down
manure into compost. This compost can be used as the substrate for
NutriSmart which is used by vegetable-growing farmers.
From the above, we can see the immense possibilities brought about
by biotechnology. We believe it will open a number of opportunities
for companies in the environmental remediation industry.
Biotechnology also has made huge advances possible in the area
of human health.
There is a race in all around the world to find a cure for two
main illnesses, cancer and AIDS. A number of medical institutions/biotechnology
companies are testing products that may save the human race from
Currently, there are no perfect treatments for AIDS nor cancers.
Even worse, some treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
can cause a lot of painful and harmful side-effects to cancer patients
such as vomiting, nausea and loss of appetite and hair, etc.
Biomedical science has the potential to provide better treatment
for these life-threatening diseases. CK Life Sciences has used its
yeast-based technology to create anti-AIDS and anti-cancer products
that help to strengthen our bodies to fight the illnesses.
From our preliminary studies with medical/academic institutions,
we have seen three distinct features from using our yeast-based
technology to fight cancer and AIDS.
Firstly, the products improve the immune system of the patients
to combat the diseases, reduce the mortality rate and speed up recovery.
Secondly, not only do these products produce no side-effects, but
they also reduce common side-effects caused by the existing treatment
Thirdly, the products are for oral prescription and thus, more
simpler and less painful than the conventional methods of taking
injection or operating a surgery.
The concept of using biotechnology to enhance a person's immune
system to fight the above diseases also gave rise to the idea of
improving people's general immunity.
With the aim to improve people's general immunity, CK Life Sciences
has developed a series of nutraceutical products that would enhance
human's immune system to meet the challenges of general viral attack.
In May this year, the first of such series "Vitagain"
was launched in Hong Kong to cater for the need of the public who
have heightened the awareness of health related issues after the
unfortunate outbreak of SARS.
By improving our general healthiness, we find our quality of life
has also improved.
From these examples, we can see how a biotechnology platform can
generate multiple innovative applications which have the ability
to transform traditional practices and revolutionize the particular
Biotechnology brings about innovative ways to tackle current problems.
Strong R & D would bring about innovation. At the same time,
entrepreneurship is vital to commercialize the applications so that
the full potential of these innovations can be realized.
Innovation creates new standards and new knowledge bases in business.
As we will see the knowledge and standards that biotechnology creates,
we will also see the transformation of the practice of traditional
CK Life Sciences has already challenged many of the notions about
agriculture, environmental remediation and human health, and we
are only starting to push the boundaries.
We will continue to strive hard to achieve our mission, i.e., to
bring quality of life to mankind through advanced breakthrough biotechnology.
We hope that you would share our vision. Thank you!