Taiwan Land Development Corp (TLDC, 台灣土地開發) has partnered with Ivy Life Sciences Co (常春藤生命科學) to develp an immunotherapy business in Kinmen, with a view to attracting customers from China.
The Taipei-based developer inked a memorandum of understanding with Ivy Life to set up a cell biology laboratory on the outlying island, which could start operating in 2021 after gaining approval from heath authorities.
The joint venture, valued at NT$500 million (US$15.89 million), came after the government in September last year gave its go-ahead to special rules governing immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.
Photo: Chen Yung-chi, Taipei Times
The Ministry of Health and Welfare on May 3 issued the first cell treatment license to Tri-Service General Hospital, allowing it to use cell-based immunotherapy with cytokine induced-killer cells (CIK) on patients, with help from Ivy Life, the only government-certified laboratory with the domain knowhow.
The deregulation makes Taiwan the first nation in Asia to tap into a business linked to cell treatment that could generate NT$10 billion in the next six months alone, Ivy Life general manager Terry Chang (張泰銘) said.
The treatment targets mainly wealthy patients with advanced lung, liver or blood cancer, as well as degenerative arthritis, cartilage defects and other illnesses, Chang said.
TLDC runs a shopping mall, Wind Lion Plaza (風獅城), in Kinmen that has become a popular attraction among Chinese tourists, TLDC chairman Chiu Fu-sheng (邱復生) said.
Kinmen is only 40 minutes from Xiamen, China, by boat.
Rich Chinese patients might desire the treatment, which can help strengthen the immune system without negative side effects, but is not yet available in China, Chang said.
A treatment course would need six to eight shots at a cost of NT$300,000 each, he said.
The laboratory would be set up in a residential complex, another part of a build-operate-transfer venture with the county government like the shopping mall, TLDC president Vicki Chiu (邱于芸) said.
Kinmen is ideal for developing tourism and preventive medicine given its scenic views and a fast-growing number of senior citizens, Viki Chiu said, as the offshore county has lost its young population to Taiwan proper.
The cell treatment could bring more tourists to Kinmen and invigorate its economy as a whole, Chiu said.
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