The Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) yesterday said it will collaborate with four local companies to conduct phase one clinical trials of a cancer drug, with total spending of NT$100 million (US$3.31 million).
The DCBCI0901 drug, developed by the government-funded center, is aimed at treating lung, breast and prostate cancer. It has won approval from regulators in Taiwan and the US for use in phase one trials.
“We will start the phase one trials immediately at hospitals in Taiwan, which are expected to take at least one year,” center president Jeff Wang (汪嘉林) said at a press conference.
The center has spent three years conducting preclinical trials, along with Standard Chemical & Pharmaceutical Co (生達化學), YungShin Global Holding Corp (永信), China Chemical & Pharmaceutical Co (中國化學製藥) and Intech Biopharm (益得生技).
They have spent a total of NT$250 million, including NT$25 million from the four companies, on the preclinical trials, DCB said.
Wang said it would be up to the four firms to decide whether to finish all the trials before launching the drug on the market themselves or to license the drug to other companies before completing all procedures.
Standard Chemical chief executive officer Roy Fan (范滋庭) said the four firms hope the government will provide subsidies for the phase one trials, while they pick up the rest of the tab.
Patents for DCBCI0901 have been secured in 16 countries, including Taiwan, Japan and the US, the center said.
Citing WHO statistics, the center said global sales of cancer drugs totaled US$61.6 billion in 2012, and the amount is expected to increase to between US$74 billion and US$84 billion in 2017.
DCBCI0901 will be used as a targeted cancer therapy in the future and its potential market is expected to be US$36 billion next year, the center said.
Fourteen million people were diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2012, and 8.2 million people died from cancer that same year, the center said, citing a WHO report.
Sales of cancer drugs in Taiwan in 2012 amounted to NT$22.9 billion, accounting for 16.9 percent of total drug sales of NT$135.4 billion that year, the center said.
There were 480,000 people diagnosed with cancer nationwide last year, and the number is expected to reach 500,000 this year, the center said, citing statistics from the Health Promotion Administration.