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Taiwan’s Latest Biotech Innovations

With COVID-19 dramatically changing the healthcare industry, organisations have been forced to adapt their practices and embrace digital transformation. Hence, Taiwan’s Development Center of Biotechnology (DCB) is prepared to demonstrate Taiwan’s pharmaceutical innovation on new cancer drugs and cell therapies in the world’s largest virtual biotech.

Twelve innovative drug discovery technologies have been selected to be displayed. DCB then invited many government officials, tech and health experts to discuss issues on public health, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and strategies to boost bio-innovation under the pandemic. This initiative is supported by Taiwan’s Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

To cope with future infectious diseases and the fast-changing COVID-19 variants, Taiwan must utilise its strengths in Information and Communications Technology, AI, and data analytics to improve its healthcare system. These technologies can also minimise physical contact and facilitate smart hospital management in the hospital. Furthermore, the global collaborations between governments and biotech companies have shown the importance of solidarity in combating the pandemic.

The first biotech innovation on display is the FLT3 inhibitor for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) shows promise in the AML market since its 5-year survival rate is only 15% to 20%, and this drug candidate is proven to be highly specific and can induce high activity.

Next is the Tri-mannosyl-ADC platform, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) developed by DCB. It is created by using enzymes to combine chemicals in the form of 4 single molecules (4A) or 2 different molecules (2A2B) with antibodies. Compared to other ADC drugs, the Tri-mannosyl-ADC platform demonstrated a higher potential to increase efficacy and overcome certain adverse events, making it a better candidate to commercialise.

In addition, DCB developed a new CAR-T therapy with an autocrine immune checkpoint inhibitor and new targets. In the lab setting, the therapy expressed high specificity and toxicity toward the solid tumour in gastric cancer, showing 60% effectiveness on tumour inhibition. DCB now is expecting to tackle issues with the tumour microenvironment and leads to a stronger cytotoxic effect on solid tumours. DCB then developed a high throughput CHO cell production system with great potential in the market. The technology would be one of the main focuses in the display and would attract biopharma firms.

During the display, two leading Taiwanese start-ups are also set to exhibit their product portfolios. Taiwan’s medical device company will showcase a smart remote management system including curative effect tracking and treatment management cloud platform. A smart health company will present its digital therapeutics that provide customised, scalable, and data-driven chronic disease management. The platform was deployed across 240 healthcare providers and has been available for more than 650,000 patients in Taiwan and Japan.

The pandemic drove drug discovery and selection to an unprecedented speed. It forced pharmaceutical companies to come up with new drug innovations within months. By utilising the power of AI, data science, and genomics, the fast-paced innovations are feasible. The biotech display is a great opportunity to show the world Taiwan’s unique viewpoints and development in biotech, AI, digital medicine, and drug discovery. Taiwanese firms must venture for more overseas channels and business opportunities.

Taiwan has been focusing on utilising advanced technologies in the health sector including promoting the use of AI. As reported by OpenGov Asia, healthcare is the ideal field to expand the use of AI given the technology’s ability to quickly conduct big data analyses and modelling. Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database contains over two decades worth of data and images to assist in this process. Taiwan is also an ideal place to integrate the latest and greatest technologies into the biotech and medical sectors.

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