ShareHope Medicine Co Ltd (盛弘醫藥), a medical human resources and logistics service provider, yesterday inked an agreement to set up Taiwan’s first large-scale precision medicine center with its affiliate, Taoyuan-based Min-Sheng General Hospital (敏盛醫院).
The precision medicine center is to focus on preventive care and health examinations to detect serious diseases at an early stage.
ShareHope has also inked an agreement with US-based Illumina Inc, which manufactures and markets integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and biological functions to enhance the center’s health examination offerings.
ShareHope Medicine aims to collect enough genetic data to build a database that is specific to Taiwan’s population to help prevent cancers and other diseases, company chairman Yang Hong-ren (楊弘仁) told a news conference in Taipei.
Yang said that Min-Sheng General Hospital already performs health exams for about 10,000 patients annually and he was upbeat that such a genetic database could be completed and made functional in the near future.
While a sample size of 5,000 would be sufficient in studies of this type, the company and the hospital would seek collaboration with other academic and medical institutions, he added.
Whereas conventional screening methods such as positron emission tomography–computed tomograph (PET-CT) scans only identify conditions, findings from genetic screening could be checked against a database to list potential health risks and help patients take timely preventive measures, such as changing their lifestyle, Yang said.
In addition, while PET-CT scans expose patients to radiation, genetic testing is non-intrusive, as DNA samples can be obtained from blood or cheek swabs, Yang said.
Yang said he hoped that genetic testing would make Taiwan an even more attractive destination for medical tourism.
ShareHope Medicine reported NT$24 million (US$787,3996) in net income for the first quarter of this year, or NT$0.32 per share, down from NT$26 million a year earlier.
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