It is not the most sexy of products, but Pang Shiu-fun hopes to make a killing with his organic fertiliser. As vice-president and chief technology officer of Growth Enterprise Market-listed CK Life Sciences, Mr Pang is responsible for the technical development of products - all biotechnological in nature. The company began with one commercial product, organic fertiliser NutriSmart. Mr Pang is, however, optimistic that the more than 100 products in the pipeline will bear fruit in the near future. Research is also focusing on the development of a product to treat HIV and Aids. The Informer caught up with Mr Pang recently to discuss life, science and the planet's future. Q: When CK Life Sciences listed last year there was plenty of excitement over biotechnology. In fact, many companies professed to be similar biotech plays simply by prefixing their name with 'bio'. How would you define biotechnology to laymen? A: It's a pretty simple definition - a scientific method that involves living organisms or biological terms. It can be yeast or bacteria; a biological system can be an enzyme. These scientific methods can solve global problems. Q: How many commercial products do you have available and how many are in the pipeline? A: Commercially available? Three, in three different areas. The others, 108 products, are in the pipeline. Q: What's the next product going to be? A: Still in the area of agriculture. I think depending on the progress, we are going to launch quite a few products in the next 12 months. Q: These products take a long time to develop. Don't investors get restless? A: I don't think it's anything like the pressure faced by colleagues in other biotechnology companies. After all, we have an agricultural product coming out, such as the fertiliser. Q: What about the dermatology products planned? A: The progress in this particular area is a little slow. Q: And the wrinkle cream? A: We're working on it. Q: Tell us more about the Aids drug? A: We don't have the drug as yet, the product possibly in the future may turn out to be a drug. At the moment we have not decided on how to commercialise it, if it's going to be a health food or dietary supplement, or a drug. We have a lot of the initial information that tells us this product is very exciting. The initial information is more than encouraging, that's why we are working in China. We are starting tests in Australia and are also negotiating with investigators in North America, Britain, and other countries with the possibility of collaborating over the development of this product. Q: When will the company make money? A: No one can predict this. But it will be much faster than the industry norm. Q: What annoys you most about environmental problems? A: I wouldn't say annoys, I would say disappoints. Hong Kong - or any city - can easily reduce chemical fertiliser usage by 50 to 70 per cent or even at the extreme, 90 per cent. This can be easily done. It's not going to cost the government money. Somehow this hasn't been very successful as of yet. Q: What's been the highlight of your job so far? A: Finding our fertiliser to be in my opinion better than chemical fertiliser. Finding we have the ability to provide solutions for nutrient recycling. Q: What would you most like to find a cure for? A: I believe that psychological problems are very disturbing, and even if you couldn't find a cure for them, I would like to know how the brain works. This is the area I love and where I would like to see more solutions, more knowledge being developed. Q: Where do you see the company in 10 years? A: I would like our company to be internationally known, to have all its environmental products work out and to have a few pharmacological products coming out. Q: What do you do to relax? A: In the past, I edited papers. Now I'm in the commercial sector, I read more. Q: If you had to change jobs, what would you do instead? A: I don't want to change. When I was young, I was hoping I would be a doctor, but I think somewhere, some time during school, I changed my mind. I really can't see myself being able to face the suffering endured by patients. Q: Farming, perhaps? A: I wouldn't mind. When I changed to this job, the first thing I learned was how to be a farmer. Q: What worries you most about the future of the planet? A: People don't realise we are really borrowing time from our future generations and that the environment is getting worse. The trouble is we don't know where the breaking point is - and we all know that biological systems have breaking points.