One of the main figures behind the founding of Yu Chang Biologics, Patrick Yang (楊育民), said he believes the company has always been irreproachable in its intentions, adding that nobody was initially willing to take on the role as chairperson and it was filled by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) only after she was persuaded to take it.
According to Yang, the reason the company has become so embroiled in election politics is because someone wants to make an issue out of it.
The mission of the company, from the outset, has been to promote the Taiwanese biotech industry, he said, adding it was never just about individuals making money.
Yang said the reason the Taiwanese team won the bid to cooperate with US firm Genentech for the development of a new AIDS drug was because of the standing of Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) and world-renowned AIDS drug expert David Ho (何大一) in the biotech field, as well as scientist Chen Lan-bo (陳良博).
Regarding the classification of Yu Chang documents, Yang pointed out the importance of confidentiality in the commercial environment and that even now he is obliged not to reveal the conditions of the initial talks with Genentech.
Chen Yuan-tsong (陳垣崇), a top researcher at Academia Sinica, said that confidentiality was crucial for international cooperation in the biotech field and expressed concern over the prospects of biotech companies willing to work with Taiwanese companies in view of the current furor involving Yu Chang.
Ho, one of three scientists hired by the National Development Fund as a board member and the joint venture’s shareholding representative on Sept. 5, 2007, was quoted in a 2007 interview with CommonWealth Magazine as touting the importance of the leadership qualities of the people at the head of a company, adding that Tsai had these qualities.
He was also quoted as saying that the significance of the drugs manufactured by Yu Chang would go beyond the commercial level and, being accredited by the US Food and Drug Administration, would have implications for Taiwan’s international standing.
Few countries outside the US, Europe and Japan are capable of marketing clinical-grade pharmaceuticals worldwide.