SLINTEC Building Structure 1500x110-04

SLINTEC offerings a way to beat dollar woes

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) is proposing to counter the economic crisis by giving a new lease of life to exports through their new product developments.
Thushara Vajira Perera, Director SLINTEC, the first public private partnership focusing on research and nanotechnology, told the Business Times recently that the institution is cottoning onto a unique new proposal to shore up dollars. “After discussions with certain Singaporean companies in the technology space, we realised that they generate intellectual property (IP), create patents, and make prototypes, but the biggest issue they have is scaling up their products. The opportunity for us here is to be the scale-up country for these firms in Singapore who find it difficult to expand because we have the space, trained staff, and all the up-to-date and futuristic equipment. What’s more, their IP in Sri Lanka is guaranteed to be secure.”
He also said that SLINTEC can liaise with science and technology parks in other countries to build and scale up products. “SLINTEC established 15 years ago, being the custodian of the 47-acre science and technology park that the institution is built on, is collaborating with the manufacturing arms of other firms in the country to prototype and put out new products. I am proposing to have this ecosystem of research and development (R&D) extending beyond Sri Lanka to other countries as well.” Explaining further, Mr. Perera, a Harvard trained scientist who has worked with Pfizer and Amgen in the US, said SLINTEC has a direct line to its Singaporean counterpart making it easier to develop and commercialise their products. “In this line of business, it is important to think beyond our shores.” The four areas that SLINTEC currently concentrates on are, developing antimicrobial and antifungal products, exploring the potential of Cinnamon in managing diabetes mellitus, screening Ayurvedic concoctions, and tea-related work. “I am passionate about the Ayurvedic concoctions because I am an immunologist. With the progress we have made, the next step is to do clinical trials or publish papers on the findings and big pharma will invest in this as soon as we take that step.”
SLINTEC has issued 17 patents since 2018 and six more are in the works. During the pandemic, the SLINTEC scientists managed to install sensors in face masks that can gauge the changes in the pulmonary systems/ lungs of individuals, such as the carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations. Further studies are being done, to use the same system to analyse changes between lung cancer patients and normal people. Scientists are trying to improve the existing tech with a couple of permutations to look at the inside of the lungs. “These technologies are available elsewhere, but we are availing our own resources to develop a solution to a worldwide problem,” Mr. Perera said.

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