Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 12 News List

New AIDS research firm to be created

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Former Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and AIDS research pioneer David Ho (何大一) will lead a new biotech company that will be jointly owned by the government and private investors to speed up the research and development of AIDS drugs, the nation's top economic planner said yesterday.

Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), chairwoman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, said the state-owned National Development Fund (NDF) would help finance the establishment of TaiMed Biologics Co (宇昌生技), which is planning to raise US$50 million in capital. Mo said the NDF plans to hold a 40 percent share in the company.

The government has authorized Tsai to assume the chairmanship and David Ho, a Taiwan-born AIDS expert and director of the New York-based Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, would serve as a co-founder of TaiMed Biologics, which would be a subsidiary of TaiMed Inc (台懋公司), a Taiwan-based biotech firm, Ho said.

Noting that TaiMed Biologics has gained patent authorization from US-based Genentech Inc for its lead clinical product, TNX-355, a potential treatment for HIV and AIDS patients, Ho said it marks a breakthrough in Taiwan's biotech industry.

She said the US company reported positive results in a Phase 2 clinical trial of TNX-355 and that a Phase 2b trial is expected to be conducted in the fourth quarter of this year in the US, Europe and South America.

TaiMed Biologics will be located in the Hsinchu Biomedical Park (新竹生醫園區) and will be the first enterprise to be set up in the park.

Other members of the TaiMed Biologics board of directors include Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), a Nobel laureate and former president of the Academic Sinica and Chen Lan-bo (陳良博), founder of Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp, a biopharmaceutical company.

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