The new alliance is part of the “biotechnology take-off package” that Taiwan’s government launched in March in a bid to double the value of the country’s NT$150bn (€3.3bn) a year biotechnology sector.
A central focus of this initiative was to reform the non-profit making DCB, placing a greater emphasis on its role in drug R&D and particularly in preclinical development and early-stage safety testing.
As a result, QPS stands to benefit twofold from the partnership, gaining customers for its development business as well as adding chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC), toxicology and pharmacology testing to its wider service offering.
Although the two organisations have worked together successfully on a project-by-project basis for several years, the new strategic partnership will provide additional benefits according to DCB president Chia Lin Jeff Wang.
Dr Wang explained that the “alliance with QPS will not only provide…integrated, international-standard preclinical testing services to domestic and pharmaceutical companies, but also lead to new clients and expanded business opportunities for DCB in the international drug development arena.”
QPS CEO Ben Chien was also positive about the alliance, suggesting that it provides “even more efficiencies of scale [and will help] to increase speed and reduce costs while maintaining our focus on accuracy of data.”
Singapore and Taiwan team up?
The wider aim of the government biotech package is to drive the sector to an annual value of more than NT$12tn over the next ten years through the creation a NT$60bn venture capital fund and the “Supra Incubator Center” for start-ups.
Other measures covered by the initiative include the foundation of an agency similar to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the construction of a biotech park in Chupei in the north of the country and a doubling of the DCB’s workforce.
While clearly ambitious the Taiwanese efforts are not without precedent, the most obvious example being Singapore which has attracted major global players like Lonza, GSK and Genentech thanks to a decade long investment in the industry.
Indeed, when Minister Chang Chin-fu announced the Taiwanese take-off package in the spring he suggested that increased co-operation generate additional international business for both countries.