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  • Renowned Jamaican scientist Dr. Henry Lowe, is the recipient of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Local Innovator Award for his work in the development of novel medicinal and other products from the Jamaican Ball Moss.
  • Dr. Lowe, who is executive chairman and founder of the Bio-Tech Research and Development Institute, said he is proud and humbled at the recognition. “This award is all about our mission to improve the quality of people’s lives as we push on and continue to create and innovate,” he said.
  • He expressed the hope that the award will enable him to leverage additional support from funding agencies to continue his work.

Renowned Jamaican scientist Dr. Henry Lowe, is the recipient of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Local Innovator Award for his work in the development of novel medicinal and other products from the Jamaican Ball Moss.

The presentation was made on Monday (October 24), at the IDB’s 19th Forum for Markets Innovation and Capital (FOROMIC) at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.

Dr. Lowe, who is executive chairman and founder of the Bio-Tech Research and Development Institute, said he is proud and humbled at the recognition. “This award is all about our mission to improve the quality of people’s lives as we push on and continue to create and innovate,” he said.

“Our work has been centred on creativity, collaboration, efficiency and optimisation of resources,” he added.

The Biotech Research Development Institute, located at the University of the West Indies’ Mona campus, has done extensive scientific research on Jamaican medicinal plants in an effort to identify possible drug molecules for the treatment and management of prostate cancer.

The research has led to the discovery of the cytotoxic properties of Tillandsia recurvata (Ball Moss, old man’s beard) against prostate cancer cell lines (P-3c and P-45). Initial separation and bioactivity studies have identified a potentially promising product for the management and treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr. Lowe pointed out that his company has made direct investment of more than US$6.5 million in its research and development activities around the Ball Moss project.

He expressed the hope that the award will enable him to leverage additional support from funding agencies to continue his work.

“We see the enormous potential for first-class cancer and neurodegenerative drug development that will have global impact, beginning within the next 12 months of the project,” Dr. Lowe noted.

“The returns on our investments are potentially very high. Our potential revenue is estimated to be in excess of US$1 billion and we are surely hoping that this award will help us to get the support we need to further our initiatives,” he said.

Dr. Lowe said he is hoping other funding agencies will support research and development in Jamaica and the rest of the developing world that offer potential for health and wealth creation.

“I wish to urge the IDB and its sister organisations to… recognise the role of intellectual property values, particularly patents, which should be properly valued… and used as assets for the research and development ventures,” he said.
“I also want to urge them to enhance their contributions to innovation and entrepreneurship in member states by working with development banks and commercial banks to establish an innovation fund in each country to support science and technology ventures… to commercialisation,” Dr. Lowe added.