Kazakh Biotech Empire

The 24 June issue of Science contains a story (subscription required) by Richard Stone describing efforts to build up biotech in Kazakhstan.  They aren't thinking small; "The government has approved plans and is now reviewing financing for a $50 million Life Science and Biotech Center of Excellence, supported in part by the World Bank."

I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons.  The first is that the article describes U.S. Department of State hopes that the endeavor will keep former bioweapons scientists engaged in less threatening activities.  The second is that the World Bank is helping finance what could be at minimum a regional biotech power.  Given a few years to build up the infrastructure, combined with the expertise developed at Stepnogorsk in manipulating and manufacturing biologicals, they could be a global technological and economic power.