Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Ana Spec moves research into Taiwan

CNA , TAIPEI

Silicon Valley-based Ana Spec Inc which has been helping in the research and development work into finding a drug to treat SARS has decided to invest in Taiwan to produce biotech medicines.

Ana Spec, Inc is planning to start biotech pharmaceutical research, development and production operations in a company to be established in the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park in southern Taiwan, said Frank Hong, chairman of the US company.

Hong said Ana Spec is planning to spend NT$500 million (US$14.45 million) in the first two years on the new investment project, which is expected to kick off at the end of this year.

At the invitation of Dr. David Ho, who helped pioneer the "cocktail treatment" for AIDS, Ana Spec joined a research team last month to try to find a treatment for SARS, according to Hong.

Finding that the SARS virus attacks people's cells in a manner similar to the AIDS virus, a discovery which may offer clues for developing the best drugs to treat SARS, Ho and a group of scientists tested and refined a synthetic protein "inhibitor" or peptide, which worked to block the SARS virus from penetrating human cells.

In just two weeks, Ana Spec managed to hand out the synthetic peptides that were tailored for the SARS-causing coronavirus to Ho, Fong said.

Initial lab tests using peptides on samples of the SARS virus have shown promising results.

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