The Development Center for Biotechnology has done much to support its country’s biotech industry. The organisation has recently stepped up its activities to act as a bridge to the international community.

The Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) is a non profit-making organisation sponsored by the Technology Development Program of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. Its principal mission is to develop new drugs and create patented key technologies for use in new, innovative products. It also aims to establish new standards for the biotechnological and pharmaceutical infrastructure in Taiwan, and support the continuing education of specialists and scientists in biotechnology research.

Through strategic global alliances and technology transfer agreements, the DCB has fostered the development of multifarious applications for use in the private sector in Taiwan.

Core R&D

Established in 1984, the DCB has grown to be one of Taiwan’s most important biotechnology R&D organisations, consisting of an R&D department and Biofronts, its business development and industry promotion department. With over 300 dedicated researchers and state-of-the-art facilities, the R&D division specialises in biopharmaceutical and small molecule drug development, Chinese herbal medicine and environmental biotechnology. Current major projects are focused on new drug development for cancer, infectious diseases and diabetes. Through its highly organised mechanisms, vast database, effective information system, comprehensive network and expert knowledge in bio-business, Biofronts identifies, evaluates and introduces technologies from around the world to Taiwan’s biotech communities. Based on the technology introduced, Biofronts matches the appropriate partners with feasible collaboration models. DCB also provides contract services through its AAALAC-accredited animal facility for preclinical trials and FDA-compliant cGMP biopharmaceutical plant for clinical development.

Formulation and alliances

For the past 20 years, the DCB has obtained over 180 patents. It has successfully developed proprietary technologies, such as the injection and nasal spray form of peptide drug (Calcitonin), the formulation of the duodenal and gastric ulcer prevention drug (Misoprostol) and the process development of anti-fungal API (Fluconazole). Taiwan Advance Bio-Pharm Inc, a diagnostic company, is a spin-off firm that has been developed in collaboration with local pharmaceutical companies such as Yung Shin Pharmaceutical Company, China Chemical and Pharmaceutical Company, Purzer Pharmaceutical Company and Standard Chemical and Pharmaceutical Company.

The DCB has built solid relationships with some renowned organisations such as University of California San Diego, Stanford Research Institute (DCB and SRI formed a joint venture company called Bridge Pharmaceuticals Inc), Omeris Consulting and Fraunhofer Research Institute. The DCB’s cGMP pilot plant for biopharmaceutical production has received accreditation from the Taiwan Department of Health, filed DMF with the US FDA and has already begun operations. Since 2006, the DCB toxicology laboratory functions as an independent operation centre to offer contract services to the private sector.

With expanding R&D operations in the Xizhi, Dahu and Nankang campuses, and about 400 biotechnology-related researchers, the DCB has become one of the most important biotechnology research institutes in Taiwan.

Developing biotech

Compared with the vigorous semiconductor and electronic industries, biotechnology in Taiwan is at an emerging stage. However, though primeval and diversified, biotechnology offers endless opportunities to explore. It is heavily related to life, health and the environment, and by enhancing the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology, it requires other inputs, such as the endowment of financial and human resources.

Facing the future, with the corporate values of integrity, mutual respect, quality and innovation, the DCB, with support from the government, research institutions and private sectors, seeks to create the seamless linkage of R&D, production and promotional activities. The DCB commits itself to triggering the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology industry as well as playing a key role as the gateway to Asia.

An autonomous non-profit organisation, the DCB was established in 1984.