by Nur Lemuel Castillo

People would normally think that every business has set its eyes on a common goal–profit.  But when a business is driven by people with motivation rooted in the love of country, profit becomes irrelevant and one goal persists–service.

When “science and technology” falls into the right hands, it would definitely produce life-saving innovations and groundbreaking discoveries, and this is what led the Manila Health Tek Inc. in creating health technologies by and for the Filipino men and women.

Alay sa Bayan: The Manila HealthTek Inc.'s Biotek-M Trio Kit wins the GAWAD DAGISIK: Dakilang Ambag sa Imbensyon at Siyensyang Pang-kalusugan on 20 December 2021 at The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion, Taguig City

As the first-ever spin-off company from a DOST-supported state university led by renowned Filipino microbiologist, Dr. Raul Destura, the Manila Health Tek Inc. has made waves in the past two years for creating the country’s own COVID-19 test kits and has since worked hard to lower the cost of said kits.

But what is a not-so-popular fact is that even before the pandemic hit, Dr. Destura has been dedicating time and energy to create similar technologies for other neglected tropical diseases.  He firmly believes that early detection and intervention can lead to better outcomes.

In 2019, Dr. Destura and the Manila Health Tek, Inc. bagged the Gawad DAGISIK Award for the BioTek-M Aqua Kit designed for faster detection of dengue infection with suspected patients. Two years later, the Company once again proved their passion as they take home the 2021 Dakilang Ambag sa Imbensyon at Siyensiyang pang-Kalusugan for his the Biotek-M Trio Kit project funded by the TECHNiCOM Program.

The Gawad DAGISIK is given to the most promising and outstanding TECHNiCOM-funded technology in recognition of its significant contribution to the Health sector.

The BioTek-M Trio Kit is a set of three highly efficient confirmatory tests for the diagnosis of three neglected tropical diseases in the Philippines–Leptospirosis, Salmonella, and Schistosomiasis.

Looking into the business perspective, Dr. Destura and the Manila Health Tek, Inc his company would not be gaining huge profits for developing this technology due to its low demand and seasonality of the diseases the kits were designed for.

However, with selfless service in mind above profitability, Manila HealthTek pursued the development of the BioTek-M Trio Kit in order for the Philippines to have its own test kits and eliminate the need for importing foreign-made and expensive products.

Moreover, the development of such technologies enabled Dr. Destura to give opportunities to young Filipino men and women of science to serve and work in their homeland instead of pursuing opportunities abroad and to train them to hopefully become the country’s leaders in health innovation in the next decade.

As Dr. Destura put it upon receiving the award, it will only take one Filipino to believe in what they are doing, for them to keep going—a mantra that resonates with the goal of DOST-TAPI of making sure that every local innovation reaches the homes of its intended local beneficiaries.