Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Tang Prize winner touts investement in bio-tech

Staff writer, with CNA

Chinese-American biologist and Tang Prize winner Zhang Feng (張鋒) said that Taiwan should invest in basic research and translational research to help establish itself in the global biotechnology sector.

Basic research remains beneficial, as the human body and its cells remain largely unknown, while investing in translational research would help scientists turn basic technologies into useful medicines and therapies, Zhang said.

Such investment would help Taiwan build a presence in the biotech sector, Zhang said in an interview in Jerusalem on Tuesday, before delivering a lecture at the annual Federation of European Biochemical Societies congress.

Zhang last year shared the Tang Prize in biopharmaceutical science with Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the US for the development of CRISPR/Cas9, a breakthrough genome editing platform that promises to revolutionize biochemical research and disease treatment.

In Tuesday’s interview, Zhang said that he is trying to develop a new genome editing technique with a brand-new algorithm to allow better gene repair.

If he succeeds, it will be possible to repair defective genes rather than simply removing them, he said.

Speaking of Taiwan and the Tang Prize, Zhang said he has had good experiences in Taiwan, that his team has been happy to work here and he hopes to visit again.

He praised the Tang Prize as an important award for drawing public attention to scientists and their work, inspiring more people to enter or invest in scientific research.

The Tang Prize was established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) in 2012 to honor people who have made significant contributions in the fields of sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology or the rule of law.

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