By Efleda P. Campos / Senior Editor
PHILAB Industries, operating since 1959, is looking at making available to the public through the Department of Health (DOH) 18 low-cost, self-test kits for the early detection of diseases.
Hector Thomas Navasero, Philab president and CEO, said this is to continue the company’s mission of providing health-care, education and genomics services to the country. The company was founded by his namesake father 57 years ago.
The company has already delivered 1 million dengue self-test kits to the regional offices of the DOH nationwide. It is now developing other self-test kits for cardiovascular, sexually transmitted and other diseases. The company wants to make the kits very affordable (dengue kits are P88 per unit) to help the early detection and prevention of diseases throughout the country.
Philab was awarded DOH’s largest order to date for dengue NS1 rapid diagnostic self-test kits. In the first quarter of 2016, the company was awarded an initial P88.6-million test contract for its new NS1 (nonbuffer) rapid-test kit. The company is currently developing 17 new rapid-diagnostic self-test kits for additional DOH requirements and eventual entry into the B2C market under the LabIT brand. Its tie-up with the DOH includes the distribution of 1,000 sterilization units or autoclaves for clinics and hospitals nationwide.
Recently, Philab was acquired by Alterra Capital Partners Inc., formerly iRipple Inc. Alterra acquired 361,390 shares, or 100 percent of Philab, for P500 million. The company plans to expand its business to provide whole genomic sequencing and become the BPO hub of genomic sequencing in the Philippines. To date, it has aggregate ongoing P3.19-billion contracts with the Department of Education, the Department of Health and the National Institutes of Health UP Manila through to 2018.
Philab has gained the reputation of being one of the country’s foremost providers of laboratory equipment and the oldest business institution servicing the fields of medical and scientific research in the Philippines.
The company’s first clients included the renowned International Rice Research Institute and University of the Philippines Los Baños Biotech institution. Since then, Philab has designed, built and equipped laboratories across a diverse range of industry sectors in the Philippines, such as, but not limited to, medical, scientific, academic, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semiconductors, mining and petroleum with specialized focus on health-care, research and education sectors.
In 2012 it installed an Auger Electron Spectrometer in the country for nanotechnology and advance material science research for the Department of Science and Technology.
It also established the Genomic Institute of Asia, the Philippines’s first privately owned next generation sequencing, and molecular diagnostics testing facility. Anticipating the value of bringing advances in life sciences and adapting them to the Philippine environment, the company has built around its core heritage of science and technical supplies and services. Navasero’s legacy to the scientific field ultimately saved the life of his mother, Sylvia A. Navasero, from an aggressive form of breast cancer. Mrs. Navasero needed to undergo genomic sequencing to avail of the clinical trial of a treatment that ultimately saved her life.
GINA is the first non-governmental, nonprofit service facility in the country to offer sequencing services at an affordable price through the partnership with The Medical City group.