Tue, Jul 23, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Japanese biopharmaceutical firm relocating to Taiwan

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

REGiMMUNE Ltd chief executive Kenzo Kosuda, left, and CTBC Securities Co investment banking marketing department head Peggy Tseng pose after signing a cooperation agreement in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Huang Pao-hui, Taipei times

REGiMMUNE Ltd (瑞格國際生技) yesterday inked an agreement with CTBC Securities Co (中國信託證券) as part of its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) by 2021.

The Tokyo-based Japanese biopharmaceutical company, which focuses on immunotherapies for rare diseases, cancer and debilitating disorders, was founded in 2006.

It has decided to restructure itself and move its headquarters to Taiwan, as there is more young talent here, chief executive officer Kenzo Kosuda told a news conference in Taipei.

The company recruited five employees after establishing a research center in Nangang Biotech Incubation Center (南港生技育成中心), and is looking to hire more for the development of its new antibody drugs RGI-AB01 and RGI-AB02, Kosuda said.

“In Japan, young graduates tend to look for lifetime employment at big companies, and seldom show interest in small ones like us, but Taiwanese are willing to take part in the development of small or medium-sized firms, and they are qualified and capable,” Kosuda said.

The company had considered launching its IPO in China or South Korea, but chose Taiwan, as it has transparent regulations governing financial activities, he said.

In addition, given the good relations between Taiwan and Japan, the company expects smooth cooperation between experts, regulators and research agencies in the two nations, he said.

“Taiwan is the gateway for us to expand to other Asian markets,” Kosuda said.

The company plans to list on the Taipei Exchange or the Taiwan Stock Exchange, depending on its revenue or net value in 2021, CTBC Securities senior vice president Peng Fang-ying (彭芳英) told the Taipei Times.

Working on ways to harness a person’s immune system to achieve anti-tumor immune responses, REGiMMUNE developed RGI-2001 to ameliorate graft versus host disease following the receipt of transplanted tissue from a genetically different person, the company said.

While RGI-2001 has been well tolerated by six patients in phase 1 clinical studies, in the phase 2a trial some patients treated with RGI-2001 saw a marked increased in the number of regulatory T-cells, a critical cell subset which can modulate the human body’s immune response, it said.

The company has gained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a phase-2b trial next month and plans to enroll 50 patients, Kosuda said.

The trial is expected to be completed by 2022, he said.

Whether a phase-3 trial will be conducted depends on the results of the phase-2b trial and the FDA, he added.

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