NT$1.5 bil. drug factory project withdrawn from Taiwan, moved to China

By Linger Liu,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Polaris Group (北極星集團) announced that its planned NT$1.5 billion pharmaceutical factory investment project in Hsinchu County has been transferred to Chengdu in mainland China due to Taiwan land development restrictions. The company decided to establish a pharmaceutical and research center in Hsinchu County but has decided to transfer the investment project to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China. The group said the change was made due to government restrictions on land development. The group said the Taiwan government lacks the experience and knowledge to support the building of a biomedical pharmaceutical factory and therefore was unable to support the project through appropriate policies. Businesses Look for Favorable Investment Environment

The Polaris Group said they planned to invest NT$1.5 billion in the project in order to complete the factory in the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park within three years. The group previously signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Hsinchu County Government and the Council for Economic Planning and Development in a bid to develop a facility to manufacture liver cancer therapies.

Co-founder and President of the Polaris Group Wu Bor-wen (吳伯文) said that the factory aimed to produce ADI-PEG 20, an argentine-depleting drug. Wu said the medicine is currently in the third phase of clinical trials in the U.S. and the company already had the legal right to produce and sell the medicine in the mainland and Taiwan for the next 10 years.

Wu said due to ADI-PEG 20’s treatment effects, it is reasonable to expect a demand for the treatment in the future. The group is not currently negotiating licensing agreements with any international pharmaceutical companies, but will wait until it finalizes its clinical trials. F. Hoffmann-La Roche head of global technical operations Patrick Yang (楊育民) said Taiwan has a great talent pool of biomedical professionals and an active capital market, but lacks a visionary government policy in terms of support for factory investment.

Yang said pharmaceutical companies are looking for investment targets in investment-friendly environments.