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10/24 Taiwan Life Sciences Biweekly Newsletter

Taiwan Life Sciences Biweekly
1. Noninvasive treatment for Parkinson's offered
22 October, 2022
National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) now provides high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson's disease, it said in a news conference yesterday.

The ultrasound treatment is performed without general anesthesia or needle guidance, leaves no implants and takes only three hours to complete, said Chen Shih-chieh, director of the hospital's medical imaging department. More...
2. Vice President Lai gives keynote at Taiwan BIO Annual General Assembly and Bio Policy Forum
21 October, 2022
(Taiwan BIO)
The Taiwan Bio-Industry Organization (Taiwan BIO) 17th Annual General Assembly and Bio Policy Forum took place in Taipei, October 13. A focus of the forum was an industry expert discussion, entitled 'Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Nucleic Acid Drugs in Taiwan', and the evening included several other presentations and panel discussions. Taiwan BIO were honored to have Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-Te deliver opening remarks.

Vice President Lai in his remarks emphasized that Taiwan's excellence in ICT gave it a special advantage, and when it comes to potential application of this expertise across industry domains, Taiwan must have the strength and confidence to compete with others and shine on the world stage.

In the nucleic acid drugs forum, Lin Chien-pang, deputy head of the ITIS research unit at Taiwan's Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB), began by sharing recent applications of IT and Big Data driving biomedicine development. DCB president Wu Chung-Hsiun, followed by reinforcing that although new tools were constantly being developed in the field of drug development, they didn't replace existing tools but instead added to a researcher's toolbox. A panel discussion followed, focusing on future trends in the field of nucleic acid drugs and how Taiwan might enter international markets for these exciting new products. Participants including Dr. Chong-Chou Lee, senior director, Biomedical Translation Research Center, Academia Sinica; Dr. Liu Lee-Cheng, chairman, EirGenix; David Wu, chairman, Mello Biotech; Lee Ming-Juan, deputy general manager, Genomics; Ochre Bio Taiwan director Tess Lu; and Chou Wei-I, associate vice president, Mycenax Biotech.

Liu Yueh-Ping, director, Department of Medical Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare, gave a speech entitled 'Prospects for the Development of Taiwan's Biotechnology Industry'. Liu in his speech explained that in the post-pandemic era, in addition to strengthening the resilience and agility of Taiwan's biomedical industry, the aim of the Ministry of Health and Welfare is to reshape domestic health care services to be more people-oriented.

A discussion followed led by Chang Hong-Jen, chairman, YFY Biotech Management Company, on the topic 'Biotechnology Capital Markets'. Chang, along with Peter Kurtz, chief strategy officer, QIC International; and Bora Pharmaceutical CEO Bobby Sheng, shared strategies that biomedical companies should adopt in Taiwan's current capital market environment.
3. Digital twin trend highlighted at Taiwan-U.S. biomedical forum
19 October, 2022
A virtual model based on the digital twin technology was the highlight of a biomedical engineering forum held jointly by the United States and Taiwan on Tuesday in California.

With the use of the AI-based digital twin technology, doctors will be able to test the effectiveness of medications on a patient's digital twin before administering the drugs to the patient, according to Renee Yao of NVIDIA, an American company that is at the forefront of artificial intelligence technology development globally.

AI technology can also be adopted to determine which of the numerous cells in the human body are not functioning well, and thus it can help physicians to prescribe the right medicines, Yao said at the U.S.-Taiwan Biomedical Engineering Forum (UTBEF) in Santa Clara. More...
4. National Cheng Kung University's newly-designed drug matching snake venom protein gets US FDA IND approval
19 October, 2022
After years of research on the antithrombotic properties of the venom of the Malaysian belly snake, a team at Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has developed a new drug through rational drug design with anti-angiogenesis and anti-inflammatory properties. The team says that the drug may also have application in inhibiting cancer cell metastasis, diabetic macular edema, ocular macular degeneration, osteoarthritis and pancreatic cancer. The team used genetic engineering to design a combination protein drug with high affinity and specificity for the combination snake venom protein. More... (in Chinese)
5. Energenesis Biomedical's new diabetic foot ulcer drug to begin Phase III clinical trials in the US
18 October, 2022
Emerging biotech company Energenesis Biomedical (TW: 6657) announced last week that the company has developed a new drug ENERGI-F703 Gel for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, with the drug having already received approval from the US FDA to enter Phase III clinical trials in the United States. More... (in Chinese)
6. Vuno's AI-backed bone age reading solution scores nod from Taiwanese FDA
18 October, 2022
VUNO said on Tuesday that its artificial intelligence (AI)-based bone age reading assistance solution, VUNO Med-BoneAge, has obtained medical device certification from the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration (TFDA).

Vuno had already signed a local distribution contract with CHC Healthcare Group, Taiwan's largest general medical company, in early 2021. With the latest approval, Vuno said it would start selling the product in Taiwan. More... (in Chinese)
7. Through Collaboration and Investment, Lilly is Accelerating Access to Innovative Medicinen
18 October, 2022
(Interview with Eli Lilly Taiwan GM)
Within the healthcare industry, innovation and scientific discovery involve years-long, multi-billion-dollar initiatives that span markets across the globe. These are not singular efforts, as innumerable inputs and contributors are required to make the kinds of breakthroughs in research and development that lead to groundbreaking healthcare products. Understanding that no one company can lead the way toward innovative treatments and medicines for some of the world's most pressing medical conditions, international pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company has dedicated itself to partnering with governments, regulators, academia, and patient advocacy groups, among others. By doing so, it seeks to not only ensure continuous innovation in R&D, but also that patients can access its life-changing products through reimbursement and other programs. More...
8. Taiwan-developed novel ophthalmic drug enters 2nd clinical trial in US
18 October, 2022
A novel ophthalmic drug developed by Taiwanese scientists using snake venom peptides has entered a second phase of human trials in the United States, according to the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) on Tuesday.

The AG-73305 cleared the Investigational New Drug (IND) application by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year and began its second round of human clinical trials in June, the NSTC said at a press conference. More...
9. Anxo Pharmaceutical's anti-schizophrenia drug under drug certification review for Chinese market entry
17 October, 2022
Anxo Pharmaceutical (TW: 6677) in an announcement last week said that that its Paliperidone sustained-release dosage form drug authorized to China-based drug firm China Resources Shuanghe Limin Pharmaceutical is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, is under drug certification review for Chinese market entry from China's National Medical Products Administration (formally the China FDA or CFDA), becoming the fourth product that Anxo Pharmaceutical and its partners have advanced to the drug certificate review stage in the Chinese market.

Anxo Pharmaceutical's Paliperidone sustained-release tablets are high-tech sustained-release preparations, which belong to the second-generation antipsychotic drugs, and are indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia. At present, there is only one generic drug approved for the market aside from the original patented drug with the same composition of controlled-release dosage forms on the market. More... (in Chinese)
10. Review of Kim Forest's monkeypox detection reagent to be prioritized by US FDA
17 October, 2022
Kim Forest Enterprise (TW: 6645) new monkeypox detection reagent developed at its US subsidiary Gene on Link LLC had been accepted and given priority review by the US FDA after initially applying for an EUA (emergency use authorization) according to an announcement by the company.

The monkeypox epidemic in the United States continues to heat up, with the number of confirmed cases in the tens of thousands. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had announced that it planned to expand testing capacity eightfold, with testing to become one of the keys to controlling the epidemic going forward. More... (in Chinese)
11. GlycoNex reports on development plans for antibody drugs and biosimilars
14 October, 2022
GlycoNex Inc (TW: 4168) during a conference last week laid out the company's current R&D plans, including for its antibody drugs GNX102, GNX201 and biosimilar drug series. With the current antibody drug global market size of US$24.59 billion, and considering resources and product value, Glycolink intends to readjust the proportion of new drugs and biosimilar drugs under development this year, greatly increasing the number of new drugs, and actively investing in precursor antibody drugs and drug development technology, according to the company.

GlycoNex reported that GNX102, a new antibody drug for various solid tumor cancers, is currently undergoing Phase I clinical trials in the US, and obtained a US patent this year. At the same time, patent application reviews in key markets such as the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and China are also underway. More... (in Chinese)
12. The Inconvenient Truth About Taiwan's National Health Insurance
13 October, 2022
For years, the National Health Insurance (NHI) system has been described as on the brink of insolvency. But is the NHI really at risk of collapsing?

The year was 2007. Then-Deputy Minister of Health Chen Shih-chung ?yes, the same man who 15 years later would shepherd Taiwan through the COVID crisis with minimal harm ?announced gravely: The National Health Insurance (NHI) system is on life support.

"We have a terrific NHI, ranked second in the world by The Economist," said a visibly frustrated Chen. "It serves 99% of the population, it covers an extremely wide range of medical treatments, it has extremely low administrative costs ?but we have to be willing to pay to keep it going." More... (in Chinese)
13. Wellness A Top Priority With Tenergy Biotech's Latest Kampo Health Product Tenergy 24
11 October, 2022
Taiwan-based Tenergy Biotech, an affiliated company of Tian I Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, has created the world's first brand of Kampo health drink called Tenergy 24 to help consumers more easily maintain their health and wellbeing.

While there exists a stereotypical view of Chinese medicine being bitter in taste, Tenergy Biotech's products are the exception even with 100% natural ingredients, created based on the traditional Chinese medicine philosophy to care for different parts of the body. More...
14. GSK Progresses to Innovate Better and Faster
11 October, 2022
(Interview with GSK Taiwan GM)
GSK in July this year set a new strategy for the upcoming decades when it demerged its consumer business to unite science, technology, and talent to prevent disease. The multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company now moves forward with a comprehensive portfolio spanning infectious diseases, HIV, oncology, immunology, and a deep focus on science of the immune system, human genetics, and advanced technologies.

"This new direction enables us to focus all of our attention on innovation, biopharma, and new technology through the lens of the immune system and human genetics," says Mick Stanley, VP and general manager of GSK Taiwan. "It has allowed us to reinvent ourselves to the benefit of patients." More...
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