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ITRI Collaborates with Merck to Enhance New Drug Manufacturing

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ITRI Collaborates with Merck to Enhance New Drug Manufacturing

The global biopharma market is growing rapidly and is estimated to reach USD 278 billion in 2020. To address this trend, ITRI and international pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck signed an MOU on March 26th, announcing the establishment of Taiwan-Merck Biopharma R&D & Training Collaboration Program at ITRI Guangfu Innovation Campus in Hsinchu. The collaboration program will officially launch in May. This project is expected to strengthen Taiwan’s biopharma sector by combining the R&D resources from ITRI with key technologies and advanced manufacturing processes from Merck to cultivate high-end professionals in Taiwan. The collaboration aims to enhance Taiwan’s biopharma production competence, expand the global market share of its biopharma industry, and create new business opportunities in precision medicine.

ITRI Executive Vice President C.T. Liu (second left), Merck Life Science Global Head of Technology Management of Process Solutions Business Willem Kools (third right) at the press conference.
ITRI Executive Vice President C.T. Liu (second left), Merck Life Science Global Head of Technology Management of Process Solutions Business Willem Kools (third right) at the press conference.

ITRI Executive Vice President C.T. Liu remarked that the government listed the biomedical sector as one of its focus industries in the 5+2 Industrial Innovation Program. This attempt seeks to enhance the competitiveness of local industries and transform Taiwan into an important R&D hub for the biomedical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It is such potential of Taiwan that facilitates the first collaboration between Merck and ITRI in the biopharma field, Dr. Liu stressed. “By combining Taiwan’s professional talents and high-tech edge with Merck’s advanced technologies in biopharma manufacturing, we can create higher industrial value. Meanwhile we will help Taiwan produce a new generation of biopharma products that comply with international standards and set a milestone for connecting to global communities,” he said, adding that ITRI will also join the forces of other non-profit entities to spur R&D innovation and initiate the next wave of new drug development.

Dr. Chii-Wann Lin, Vice President of ITRI and General Director of its Biomedical Technology and Device Research Laboratories, explained that this collaboration includes two stages, and the Taiwan-Merck Biopharma R&D & Training Collaboration Program is only the beginning of this joint program. In addition to introducing world-leading drug manufacturing and purifying technologies and high-efficiency mass production processes, the program will bring in validation and verification methods that meet the standards of international, European, and US regulations. Training that covers the basics and actual operation of non-GMP practices will also be offered to enhance key drug manufacturing technical skills. Furthermore, Merck will bring forth manufacturing technologies related to antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) and pre-formulation technical know-how. This will help stimulate Taiwan’s new drug development in precision medicine, support local companies to enter the international advanced pharmaceutical market, and boost biotech production value.

As a world leading science and technology company, Merck is active in the healthcare, life sciences and performance materials industries. Willem Kools, Merck Life Science Global Head of Technology Management of Process Solutions Business, expressed that Merck is committed to working closely with customers in enabling new innovation and supporting the biopharma industry to grow. The company is honored to have the opportunity to work with ITRI, a world-class applied technology research organization that possesses not only leading technology in biomedicine, but also interdisciplinary technology R&D capabilities. ITRI is the backbone of the development of Taiwan’s biotech pharmaceutical industries. The partnership with ITRI will allow Merck to further contribute its expertise to help advance the biopharma industry in Taiwan. The company also looks forward to exploring ITRI’s wealth of expertise and developing new technologies together.

Merck in Taiwan Managing Director Dick Hsieh also pointed out that since Merck officially entered Taiwan in 1989, the company has been actively introducing new technologies for the TFT-LCD and semiconductor industries and investing in local R&D capabilities. Through the Taiwan-Merck Biopharma R&D & Training Collaboration Program, Merck can offer its profound expertise and global experience in biopharma manufacturing processes and help ITRI train professionals in this area. Merck hopes that the collaboration program will allow the industry to grow and create new opportunities for the future.

About Merck in Taiwan

Merck in Taiwan was established in 1989. Today the company has about 660 employees working under three business sectors of performance materials, health care, and life science. Merck Ltd. is based in Taipei and serves as the local headquarters. It is also where the biopharma and life science businesses operate. Merck Performance Materials Ltd has two production sites located in Kuanyin, Taoyuan, which is the main location for high-quality liquid crystals materials and advanced technologies (OLED, LED, flexible materials, etc.) R&D and production, as well as marketing and sales; and in Hukou, Hsinchu, which is the base for marketing and sales, the site produces photoresist materials for display industry and TARC materials for semiconductor industry. SAFC Hitech, which was acquired by Merck in 2015, is at Luzhu, Kaohsiung and provides deposition materials for LEDs, and atomic layer deposition and chemical vapor deposition precursor materials for IC manufacturing process. For moreinformation, please visit: www.merck.tw