Ambassador of Switzerland congratulates UTAR and LiveLife Biosciences AG for their successful cooperation

From left: Prof Yow, Prof Ewe, Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin, Mr Lim and Ms Aileen Chan

Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin, the Ambassador of Switzerland in Malaysia and delegates from LiveLife Biosciences AG were at UTAR Sungai Long Campus on 7 September 2020 for a presentation by LiveLife Biosciences AG on the outcome of two studies conducted by UTAR Faculty of Science (FSc) Head of the Department of Allied Health Sciences, Dr Chee Huei Phing, on their product, RILAX. In conjunction with this presentation is a token of appreciation presented to Dr Chee by LiveLife Biosciences AG for her efforts in conducting the two studies on RILAX.

UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat welcomed Her Excellency and the guests. LiveLife Biosciences AG Vice President Mr Lim Siang Wee presented the outcome of the studies on the product, RILAX. Also present were, LiveLife International (2002) Pte Ltd Chief Operating Officer Ms Aileen Chan, Export and Investment Promotion Switzerland Trade Advisor Ms Pung Siau Wei, LiveLife Sdn Bhd Marketing Manager Ms Elaine Khoo, UTAR Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Yow Ho Kwang, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Dean Emeritus Prof Dr Cheong Soon Keng, Faculty of Accountancy and Management Dean Dr Sia Bee Chuan, Faculty of Creative Industries Dean Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Sciences Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes  Deputy Dean Ir Dr Gobi Vetharatnam, Division of Community and International Networking Director Assoc Prof Dr Lai Soon Onn, Division of Corporate Communication and Public Relations Director Ms Ong Soo Weon, Centre for Extension Education Director Ir Dr Lim Jee Hock, Division of Community and International Networking Deputy Director Dr Chen, I-Chi.

The event was also attended by UTAR Kampar Campus academics via video conference. The academics included Faculty of Information and Communication Technology Dean Assoc Prof Ts Dr Liew Soung Yue, Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology Deputy Dean R&D and Postgraduate Programmes Dr Lo Po Kim, Faculty of Arts and Social Science Dean Dr Lee Lai Meng, Faculty of Business and Finance Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, Faculty of Science Deputy Dean for Student Development and Industrial Training Dr Sit Nam Weng.

Prof Ewe (left) and Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin during the meeting

Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin mentioned in her speech that it was her first time visiting a Malaysian university and expressed her pleasure to meet all the guests. Her Excellency gave a very informative speech during which she mentioned that cross-border inputs and processes indeed stimulate innovation performance as the current example between UTAR and LiveLife shows.

Her Excellency said that “Especially in times of a global health crisis and economic recession, Swiss authorities remain convinced that innovation and competitiveness remain the key factors for a successful reset. Prioritising innovation and R&D have become even more crucial; with an array of indicators pointing to the causality between innovation and economic growth. From a sample of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, it is estimated that a 1 percent increase in R&D spending could grow the economy by 0.61 percent. In short, countries with more R&D investments tend to have deeper growth.”

Her Excellency also added, “As academics and entrepreneurs, you are well aware that R&D spending is on the one hand a question of political priority but also very much depending on private-public partnerships. Statistics show that innovation performance in Malaysia is one of the highest in emerging Asia. Malaysia is ahead of most Southeast Asian countries in terms of the level of R&D intensity achieved. According to the World Bank, Malaysia spends roughly about 1.4% of GDP in R&D expenditure, second highest in Southeast Asia behind Singapore of 1.9%. Moving forward, Malaysia’s focus will be, as I understand, on translational research providing positive impact to local and international communities. I am glad that the collaboration between LiveLife and UTAR has translated this commitment.”

Her Excellency elaborated that, “As a SWISS representative, I have to pay special tribute to such private sector-academic cooperation that you have led. Nowadays, more than 70% of R&D investments in Switzerland are engaged by the private sector, whereas the public sector R&D spending focuses on basic research and shoulders higher education cost. The government often funds a university’s share in a joint private sector-university research project. It goes without saying that private sector initiated networking and partnerships at home and internationally are highly encouraged.”

Her Excellency also mentioned that research and innovation are deeply rooted in Switzerland and originate in dynamic and creative partnerships. For many decades, Switzerland has ranked high in innovation, and it has led the Global Innovation Index since 2011 for the tenth consecutive year. One of the innovation outcomes is that Switzerland registers a high number of patents and IPs.

Her Excellency concluded her speech by congratulating UTAR and LiveLife Biosciences AG for making this meaningful cross-border scientific cooperation happen.        

Prof Ewe said that UTAR is indeed honoured to have Her Excellency present in the campus for the first time and thanked her for her graciousness.  He also welcomed Mr Lim Siang Wee and distinguished guests from LiveLife Biosciences AG and thanked them for being able to connect and recognise the efforts of Dr Chee in her study on RILAX as a provision of evidence to support the product benefits. He added that, “This is indeed a win-win situation for our academics as well as the industry where the resources of both parties are utilised in collaboration for a mutually beneficial outcome. I hope such collaborations will continue for both parties in the future for the greater benefits of the public community.”

Prof Ewe also thanked Her Excellency for her support towards this collaboration, and thanked LiveLife Biosciences AG for recognising the efforts of the university. “UTAR has always aimed for research excellence and we have set up 32 research centres in a wide variety of areas of study and we are indeed glad that our efforts towards quality education and research are recognised by the industry,” he said.

Mr Lim Siang Wee gave a presentation on the key findings and outcome of the studies done by Dr Chee on RILAX, sharing the information and on how the collaboration started. According to him, he came across a paper by Dr Chee titled “A Review of Potential Efficacy of Alpha-S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate on Stress and Sleep Disorders” published in the Malaysian Journal of Psychiatry. As Alpha-S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate is one of the active ingredients used in RILAX, he approached Dr Chee to conduct a study on the product.

The study commenced in late 2016 and completed in early 2017, followed by analysis, write-up and submission of the paper for publication in 2018. The paper was published in May 2019 in the Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine and the paper was titled “Effects of Alpha-S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate and L-Theanine on Sleep Disorder and Psychological Components; A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study”. This represented the first collaboration between UTAR and LiveLife Biosciences AG.

The second collaboration between UTAR and Livelife Biosciences AG started in January 2018, when Dr Chee approached Livelife Biosciences AG to sponsor the products and placebo for another study using RILAX for a PhD thesis. The analysis for most of the key parameters have been completed; the write-up commenced in 2020. According to Lim, the results for the second paper were encouraging and the researcher hopes to publish the paper in an international publication.

In his speech, Mr Lim expressed his appreciation towards Dr Chee and the University for the effort in conducting the clinical study on their product, RILAX. The evidence from the clinical studies have supported their product by assuring its availability of an effective non-drug health supplement for relieving stress, anxiety and sleeplessness.

Mr Lim then presented a certificate of appreciation to UTAR for the collaboration. The event ended with the presentation of souvenirs from UTAR and LiveLife Biosciences AG to the Ambassador of Switzerland, followed by a group photography session.

Note: Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin’s statements and statistics are from her speech and cross-checked with the hard copy of her speech.

Prof Ewe (left) receiving the certificate from Mr Lim (right) witnessed by Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin

Prof Ewe (left photo, left) and Lim (right photo, right) presenting a token of appreciation to Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin

The group photo with UTAR Deans of Faculties and guests from LiveLife Bioscience AG

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