Sat, Jan 21, 2017 - Page 4 News List

NARL to export laboratory mice to Southeast Asia

By Wu Po-wei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) said that it would export Taiwanese laboratory mice to scientific researchers in Southeast Asia as part of a collaborative venture with the private sector.

Southeast Asian countries have experienced significant economic growth and improvements to their biotech and medical sectors, leading to an increased demand for laboratory mice, institute president Wang Yeong-her (王永和) said.

Laboratory mice are crucial to medical and biological researchers, he said, adding that the institute has developed 136 breeds of mice that were tailored for specific needs, including research in neurological pathology, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and cancer.

Since 1994, the institute has been creating a laboratory mice supply network for domestic research institutes, with annual production increasing from 10,000 mice in the beginning to 170,000 mice currently, Wang said, adding that 30,000 premier-grade genetically modified laboratory mice are bred annually for testing related to rare medical conditions.

Premier-grade laboratory mice are sold at between NT$10,000 and NT$30,000 per mouse, he added.

In line with the “new southbound policy” being promoted by the government, the institute is to begin collaborating with Bio Lasco Taiwan to export its mice to countries in Southeast Asia in which the firm has established a presence, such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, Wang said, adding that Web-based advertising, workshops and conferences are to be used in those countries to publicize Taiwan’s premier-grade laboratory mice.

While it is difficult to estimate demand for laboratory mice in Southeast Asian countries, animal testing is an indispensable process for medical technology to advance to clinical trials, National Laboratory Animal Center director Yu Chun-jen (余俊仁) said.

As supplying mice for animal testing includes service packages, technical support, consultations and educational training exchanges, exporting mice might lead to further opportunities for the nation’s biotech and medical sectors, Yu said.

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