With construction of the National Biotechnology Research reaching a closure, Academia Sinica signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) on August 20, 2018 in an effort to promote the development of new biotechnology drugs and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in this field. This new partnership will advance the development and commercialization of drugs along with the industrialization of technology. In a joint statement, both sides remarked that by combining their strengths and leading advantages in basic research and medical technology, both parties hope that the research achievements of Academia Sinica can be integrated with those of the Development Center for Biotechnology to accelerate the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology industry.

Dr. James C. Liao, President of Academia Sinica stated that in the biopharmaceutical industry, the time it takes to progress from research and development of new drugs to its commercialization is a slow and time-consuming process. A solid foundation in the basic sciences is key to the development of new drugs, and the commercialization of technology depends on the added value supplied by translational research in biomedicine. Therefore, amalgamating the strengths of the academic, governmental, and industrial sectors while bolstering the integration of academic research with industrial development lies at the crux of putting theory into practice and turning research into actual medications.

Ming-hsin Kung, Chairman of the Development Center for Biotechnology and Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs remarked that in Taiwan, Academia Sinica is the island’s preeminent research institution and has produced the most successful research results in the field of biopharmaceutical science. Through this partnership, the Development Center for Biotechnology hopes to leverage its expertise to accelerate the transfer of drug research results to the industrial sector, further advancing its development. After three months of collaboration through the recently signed MOU, both sides plan to sign a cooperation agreement focusing on both the research and development as well as promotion of biopharmaceutical research. This agreement will explicitly structure and delineate the model of cooperation between both institutions, covering stages spanning from the early research and development phase to product commercialization. The ultimate goal of this agreement is to facilitate cooperation between these two institutions in response to the rapidly changing international market and new technology trends.

Chung-Hsiun Wu, CEO of the Development Center for Biotechnology, also pointed out that this partnership will result in, what he termed, “4I” benefits that will penetrate the entire biotechnology supply chain: innovation, incubation, integration, and investment. In terms of innovation, this partnership will introduce to the Development Center for Biotechnology research findings from Academia Sinica. In the area of incubation, both institutions will combine and streamline available hardware and software resources to offer better and more comprehensive services for startup companies and help accelerate their entry into the international market. In the third aspect of integration, the strengths of Academia Sinica and the Development Center for Biotechnology will be incorporated to bring about a cluster effect for the newly opened biotechnology research park. Finally, this partnership will also advance investment by attracting international biopharmaceutical companies to set up branches within the biotechnology research park, in turn opening up new investment opportunities for the public.

Innovation as well as the research and development of new drugs will serve as the central vision of this partnership. Translational research in biomedicine will be strengthened to fill-in existing gaps in the biotechnology industry. This collaboration streamlines development by bringing together partners within all levels of the supply chain—upstream, mid-stream, and downstream. It combines the upstream basic research results of Academia Sinica with the mid-stream added-value development and commercialization services provided by the Development Center for Biotechnology as well as the services offered by the National Laboratory Animal Center and the rigorous review process based on relevant drug regulations stipulated by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA). In the final link, this partnership also provides support for downstream new business ventures through the BioHub Taiwan of the National Biotechnology Research Park.

Funded by the government, the National Biotechnology Research Park is the first of its kind, featuring all the links of a complete biotechnology supply chain. It is equipped with the necessary resources and talent to lead the research and development of new drugs, conduct clinical trials, and nurture start-up companies to commercialize these new products. Construction of the different parts within the National Biotechnology Research Park successively reached a completion in 2018. In May 2018, agencies including the Development Center for Biotechnology, Food and Drug Administration, and others have set up branches within the park. The comprehensive organizational structure of this research park along with the services provided by these different agencies will strengthen and take Taiwan’s biotechnology industry to new heights.