Inaugural Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator at National Yang-Ming University
Opening Event: Learning from Dr. Wen Guo-Lan of Mycenax Biotech Inc.
Fig. 1 The inaugural Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator brought many faculty members together, thereby indirectly opening up opportunities for academia–industry cooperation. From left to right, Prof. Lo Yu-Li of the Department and Institute of Pharmacology, Dr. Monica Bey of the Business Center of Industry–Academia, Dr. Wen Guo-Lan of Mycenax Biotech Inc., Prof. Liu Tse-Ying of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Prof. Huang Chi-Ying of the Department of Biotechnology and Laboratory Science in Medicine.
The National Yang-Ming University Business Center of Industry–Academia and National Yang-Ming University GLORIA project recently collaborated to cohost corporate keynote speeches as part of the Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator to promote on-campus research and development (R&D) liaison with global enterprises. The inaugural event was led by the university’s president, Dr. Kuo Hsu-Sung, and chief R&D director, Dr. Lin Chun-Li. We were honored to welcome the general manager of Mycenax Biotech Inc. and most iconic figure in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Wen Guo-Lan, as a guest speaker to share her practical experience and vision regarding the development and future of biologics.
In the opening speech, Dr. Lin explained that the Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator would include a wide range of events, including corporate keynote speeches, a matchmaking forum, product technical capacity verifications, corporate visits, joint expositions, and creativity competitions. Through these events, we expected to facilitate academia–industry cooperation and put R&D findings to practical use.
In a subsequent speech, Dr. Kuo highlighted that presently, notable international pharmaceutical companies in many countries have high expectations for Taiwan’s biotech and pharmaceutical industries and plan to increase their investments in clinical trials in Taiwan. However, the biotech industry is still in its infancy in Taiwan and transitioning from academic R&D to industrial R&D is never easy for schools, let alone in the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, Dr. Kuo is convinced that academia–industry cooperation is the optimal approach for National Yang-Ming University to adopt.
Moreover, academia–industry cooperation could provide National Yang-Ming University’s faculty and students with opportunities to bridge the gap between theory and practice and gain further insight into industrial needs. Such a bridge could lead to projects that could serve as benchmarks for further projects.
Fig. 2 Dr. Kuo Hsu-Sung, president of National Yang-Ming University, gives a corporate keynote speech at the Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator to encourage active on-campus R&D liaison between industry and academia, which is expected to add value to academia–industry cooperation.
Mycenax Biotech Inc. is a trailblazer in Taiwan’s biologics industry and is second to none in Taiwan in terms of capacities for pharmaceutical manufacturing, production, and R&D. Mycenax Biotech Inc. is the first organization in Taiwan to have successfully developed a new medicine—TuNEX—for rheumatoid arthritis and is also the first Taiwanese pharmaceutical company to be nominated at the CPhI Pharma Awards; the company was nominated at the 2018 awards for Excellence in Pharma: Pharma Company of the Year and Excellence in Pharma: Bioprocessing and Manufacturing.
According to Dr. Wen, Mycenax Biotech Inc. has turned its attention to R&D for biologics and plans to conduct phase III clinical trials and produce a biosimilar of the medicine Eylea—developed by South Korea’s public trading company SCD—to meet the contract development and manufacturing organization demands of clients and future manufacturing requirements of Mycenax’s own biosimilar, LusiNEX. Finally, Dr. Wen posited that successful academia–industry cooperation meets the following conditions: (1) choice of research topic is the most crucial aspect of academia–industry cooperation; other crucial aspects include the market share of the developed technology, potential competitors, patent claims and coverage, and durations of clinical trials; (2) strategic alliances are formed with other institutions (e.g., National Chiao Tung University and National Tsing Hua University) for their knowledge of electronics; introduction of automation into the manufacturing process is key to success; (3) new products achieve success in overseas markets before being introduced in Taiwan’s market because Taiwan’s review and licensing process is lengthy and overcomplicated; and (4) members of R&D teams must be intelligent and diligent and have positive attitudes. To conclude, Dr. Wen allegorized that running quickly does not necessarily help to win a race; the key to success is the ability to seize opportunities.
Fig. 3 Dr. Monica Bey of the Business Center of Industry–Academia introduces Dr. Wen Guo-Lan of Mycenax Biotech Inc. This was Dr. Wen’s first time sharing her extensive experience in pharmaceutical R&D; her speech provoked lively discussion among the faculty and students.
The inaugural Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator: Corporate Keynote Speech was a great success. More events will be hosted to help familiarize the faculty and students with the industry in order to create further opportunities for mutually beneficial academia–industry cooperation.
Fig. 4 Dr. Lin Chun-Li (first from left), chief R&D director at National Yang-Ming University, encourages the faculty and students not to miss the coming Serial Liaison Events of Bio-Navigator.