Wed, Sep 26, 2018 - Page 12 News List

AstraZeneca to expand investment

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

AstraZeneca PLC yesterday announced that it would invest an additional NT$1 billion (US$32.6 million) in Taiwan over the next three years as it gears up to launch 10 new medicines by 2021.

The investment would help the company strengthen its bond with Taiwan, create 140 high-quality scientific jobs and increase its local workforce to 430, the company said.

The expansion would also support an additional 1,000 jobs through contract manufacturing, AstraZeneca Taiwan Ltd general manager Simon Manners told a news conference in Taipei.

The investment would raise the company’s average annual clinical research budget in Taiwan nearly threefold from NT$230 million to more than NT$600 million by 2021.

The company has also inked a letter of intent with BioHub Taiwan to collaborate with the biotechnology start-up incubator in the National Biotechnology Research Park in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港).

AstraZeneca would also collaborate with the Program for Translational Innovation of Biopharmaceutical Development-Technology Supporting Platform Axis, a program led by the science, economic and health ministries to accelerate the commercialization of technologies through effective integration of resources and infrastructure.

In the past five years, the company has invested more than NT$1.4 billion in clinical studies in Taiwan to develop medicines that suit the local genetic profile and treat the leading causes of death.

The company ranks first among its global peers in clinical trials on lung cancer, which has a disproportionately high occurrence rate in Taiwan.

These collaborations represent the company’s commitment to Taiwanese and would support the development of innovative solutions to healthcare challenges, Manners said.

It would also cultivate local talent and raise Taiwan’s profile as a biomedical development hub, he added.

The nation’s exemplary National Health Insurance (NHI) system and its healthcare infrastructure make it the ideal destination to conduct clinical studies and scientific research, medical international vice president Alexander Bedenkov said.

Apart from drug development, the company has initiated two healthcare delivery partnerships with local experts and start-ups to support the nation’s estimated 2 million asthma and 2 million diabetes patients.

“The partnerships we have initiated, such as Healthy Lung and Early Action in Diabetes, aim to improve and prolong patients’ lives and reduce healthcare expenditure,” Asia area president Joris Silon said.

While the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process has been efficient in granting priority review to three out of the 10 medicines set to be launched by 2021, the company hopes that its conversations with the government on NHI reimbursement could proceed at a faster pace, Manners said.

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