27 July, 2022, Taipei, Taiwan
The conference segment of BIO Asia–Taiwan 2022, the region’s largest bioindustry-focused combined conference and exhibition, kicked off this morning at the TaiNEX 2 exhibition center in Nangang, Taipei.
With pandemic restrictions continuing to make travel to Taiwan a difficult proposition, all conference sessions as well as the exhibition, company presentations, and so on are accessible to registered attendees both onsite and in online formats.
The conference covers 15 sessions with more than 100 presentations scheduled over its three days. At least 60 of the 100 speakers are from overseas, and this year's lineup includes Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka, C-level executives from some of the world's leading pharma and biotech firms, scientists, investment and finance experts, policy makers and government officials. In keeping with the hybrid format, presentations are also delivered in both live and online formats.
"Hopefully with this format, onsite and online, we'll be able to create more business opportunities," explained Johnsee Lee, chairman of the event's organizing committee. The third year BIO Asia–Taiwan has been held during the pandemic, Lee expects the event will return to a fully-onsite format next year. Registration numbers are still pleasing; "We have 1,500 participants from 26 countries," said Lee.
The exhibition features not only the best of local and regional biomedical companies, research institutes, technology-focused universities, but also 10 national pavilions showcasing firms from Canada, Australia, Japan, the US, etc.
With the theme 'Connecting the Asian Value Chain', this year's conference will focus in particular on CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization) capabilities in the region and how to engage with and optimize connections, with sessions entitled Biologics Product Development & Manufacturing, CDMO Business for Small Molecules, and others.
Plenary sessions 1 and 2 covered global biotech development, and featured a keynote presentation from Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka of Japan on 'Top iPS Cell Technologies at Affordable Prices'. Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for successfully reprogramming skin cells and for first creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells; embryonic stem cell-like cells derived from adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed.
Continuing to examine global development trends, Session 1 speakers also included Laura Matz, Chief Science and Technology Officer, Merck KGaA; Graham Lewis, Vice President, Global Pharma Strategy, IQVIA; and Thomas Solbach, Partner and Europe Pharma & Life Sciences Leader, PwC Strategy&.
Session 2 featured John A. Murphy III, Chief Policy Officer and Senior Counsel, Healthcare at BIO (co-organizers of BIO Asia–Taiwan); Ken J. Lee, General Manager and Region Head, Asia Pacific, Syneos Health; Paru Deshpande, Vice President R&D, imec; and Chris Wigley, CEO Genomics England.
Linking in well with the conference theme 'Connecting the Asian Value Chain', Session 3 entitled 'International Collaboration Strategy' was held over lunch at the TaiNEX 2 conference hall, and featured short presentations from local representatives of some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies including Mick Stanley, General Manager, GSK Taiwan; Jorge Wagner, General Manager & Country President, Novartis Taiwan; Cellina Yeh, Country Manager, Pfizer Taiwan; and Ramanathan Velayutham, General Manager, Abbvie Taiwan.
Session 4 entitled 'Exit Strategies for Early Stage New Drug Companies' was a panel discussion moderated by Tim Lu, Co-founder and CEO, Senti Biosciences, and featured a star-studded lineup of bioindustry investment and financial experts including Seth Lieblich, Principle, 8VC; Eckard Weber of Canann Partners and Domain Associates; Dennis Podlesak, CEO of Axceliux; Portia Ku, Partner, O'Melveny & Myers; and George Yeh, President, Taiwan-headquartered TLC Biosciences.
Session 5, 'New Modalities to Cure' was organized by Taiwan's Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) and opened by Chung-Hsiun Wu, President, DCB and Chairman of the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (Taiwan BIO), co-organizers of BIO Asia–Taiwan. This session was a deep dive into some of the latest therapeutic advances, in particular new mRNA-based applications. Speakers included Kathy Fernando, VP, Head of mRNA Scientific Strategy, Pfizer; Klass Zuideveld, CEO, Versameb AG; Tracy Humphries, mRNA Segment Marketing Manager, Cytiva; Dominik Witzigmann, CEO, Nanovation Therapeutics; and Tsai-Kun Li, VP, DCB.
Concurrent with Wednesday's afternoon sessions, BIO Asia–Taiwan's 'Company Presentation' and 'Entrepreneur Pitch' program began. Delivered in both onsite and online format over the three days of the conference (and available on demand post-event), 69 companies from Taiwan and abroad will make Company Presentations, while 22 startups will take the stage for their Entrepreneur Pitch.
We welcome you all to rejoin us for Day 2 of BIO Asia–Taiwan, for the opening of the five-day Exhibition and the awarding of winners of this year's Taiwan BIO Awards. See you there!