2020台灣生技月 Bio Taiwan 生物科技大展

2020 台灣生技月 南港展覽館

新聞中心

2020-08-01

Day 2 Highlights

BIO Asia-Taiwan 2020

BIO Asia-Taiwan 2020 Conference, Day Two Highlights
 

Day two of BIO Asia-Taiwan 2020, held on July 23 in Taipei, brought early attention to the morning opening of the exhibition by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, in a ceremony attended by industry heavyweights and representatives of local government, overseas trade offices, academia, and medical associations.

“Taiwan’s biotech sector is performing remarkably well, with 8.7 percent revenue growth in the last year. Our clinical trial standards are recognized widely, with more and more overseas trials locating here. Investment in biotech reached NT$55 billion (US$1.8 billion) last year,” said Tsai. And regarding the pandemic, “We’re sharing our pandemic prevention experience worldwide. We’ve done a great job, and now the world taking notice. Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping.”

“It's the first large scale biotechnology exhibition to be held anywhere in the world since the onset of the pandemic,” said Johnsee Lee, chairman of the BIO Asia-Taiwan 2020 organizing committee, adding, “We might not be able to get everyone here in person, but nothing stops our innovation, nothing stops our collaboration.”

BIO Asia-Taiwan 2020 is co-organized by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (Taiwan BIO).

Offering videotaped congratulations during today’s opening was BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, who praised Taiwan for being able to host such an event while most of the world is still reeling under COVID-19. Heath assured the gathering that BIO member companies are working around the clock on the pandemic. “Scientists, CEOs and entrepreneurs are laser-focused on finding a cure.”

The second day of the conference began with presentations from the winners of the 2020 Taiwan BIO Awards, followed by the sessions ‘AI for Therapeutic Innovations’; ‘Combating Pandemics (B)’; and ‘Biotech Business Models and Financing Strategy’.

In the AI session, Faisal Khan of AstraZeneca explained that the days of just stumbling upon a new drug were over—“We’re not going to develop the next aspirin anymore”—and that artificial intelligence was now an essential tool used by all major pharma companies to assist in their drug development processes.

Novartis’s Joris Van Dam and Stephane Wolf discussed real-world AI applications and showed how special glasses and an iPad-like game, utilizing AI, is being used to cure Amblyopia, or lazy eye syndrome. The conventional treatment had been years of wearing an eye patch, not a pleasant experience for a child!

In the ‘Combating Pandemics’ session, the highlight was a talk by Jason Wang, a pediatrician and the director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes, and Prevention at Stanford. Wang, back in March, authored an influential article “Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan: Big Data Analytics, New Technology, and Proactive Testing” which highlighted the 124 action items that Taiwan took in the first five weeks of the outbreak. The article was widely read and likely influenced many governments to emulate Taiwan with strong measures of their own.

In his live presentation, Wang again praised Taiwan’s COVID-19 response, but said this created its own conundrum, particularly for companies working in the pandemic field.

“Taiwan is case free. We need to think about how to help the world. We’re in the same storm but in different boats. We need to think of being in the same boat,“ said Wang.

He also mentioned that the crisis was uncovering new problems.

“Not surprisingly, [under quarantine] people are complaining about loneliness. And in lockdown, there’s no touching. But we need touch, so how can we resolve this? With healthcare via telemedicine, it’s hard to appreciate a patient’s true suffering and pain levels. And in lockdown, how can families say goodbye to their loved ones when they are dying? All these are problems that need solutions,” said Wang.

In the afternoon session 'Biotech Business Models and Financing Strategy' co-organized by PwC Taiwan, a number of bio-business veterans took the stage and video screen to share their wisdom in this vital discipline. Speaking in this session were Joseph McCracken, Industry Advisor, former Global Head of BD & Licensing at Roche and Genentech, with his talk 'Building a Biotechnology Company through Collaboration, Licensing and M&A'; Ji Li, Venture Partner of Lilly Asia Venture in her presentation 'Bridge to the Future- Partnering and Collaboration'. Catering to early-stage companies, Kenneth Carter, Head of Corporate Development, Innoforce, with his presentation 'Swimming with Sharks: Early Stage Biotechnology Business Models and Financing Strategies'; and Shaun Grady, SVP of BD Operations, AstraZeneca, with his presentation 'AstraZeneca Global Innovation Network at Work'.

 
 

Ji Li, Venture Partner of Lilly Asia Venture, in her presentation lamented that many start-up teams only look for external partners when they think their product development is mature. But others are bolder and seek out partners and markets earlier, to gain international recognition and a boost to their product development.

Shaun Grady, senior vice president of BD Operations, AstraZeneca, mentioned that AstraZeneca had been busy recently actively investing in EU and Asian Union start up joint ventures and incubators.
Grady mentioned that current operating strategies of major pharmaceutical companies are becoming diversified; going forward cooperation will not be limited to just between other pharma or biotech companies; but that medical equipment or digital health companies will increasingly become targets of interest and cooperation.