Oct. 3, 2016
The National Research Program for Biopharmaceuticals (NRBP) was formed in 2011 from the merger of two national research promotional bodies in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and genomic medicine. The NRBP objective is to create a fully integrated biopharmaceutical pipeline by encouraging research and cooperation. By any measure, it is bringing results.
Taiwan was the first authority to approve the chemotherapy drug afatinib for the treatment of non-small scale lung cancer. Taiwanese research was instrumental in the development of afatinib, and its approval in 2013, after successful clinical trials involving over 500 patients, attests to the sophistication of Taiwan’s clinical testing environment. Another Taiwan success is the HIV treatment ibalizumab, which has been designated a breakthrough therapy by the U.S. FDA.
Taiwan's research vision is described by the Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine Research (IMGM) as "a new initiative in precision medicine." The Molecular Signaling and Cancer Research Group, one of three research groups at the IMGM, is identifying molecular biomarkers intended for use in cancer therapeutics and diagnostics.
Although Taiwan has conducted successful research and development in several therapeutic areas, cancer accounts for most research activity. Taiwanese scientists were particularly influential in developing the first targeted therapy for lung cancer, gefitinib, which had a particular significance in East Asian patients.