Taiwan welcomes Moderna's plan to set up subsidiary: health minister – Focus Taiwan News Channel


Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Taiwan welcomes an announcement by American biotechnology company Moderna, Inc. that it would establish a subsidiary in the country and is open to potential opportunities for cooperation, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday.
Chen made the comments in response to Moderna’s overnight announcement that it would set up subsidiaries in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, in addition to its existing operations in Japan, South Korea, and Australia in the region.
“With the addition of four subsidiaries in Asia, we look forward to new opportunities to leverage our mRNA platform to help solve health challenges, including those with a high burden of disease in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancelof in a press statement.
Although details of Moderna’s plan to establish a presence in Taiwan are unclear, Chen said Taiwan welcomes the company’s decision and is willing to explore opportunities for collaboration.

The Taiwanese government has been seeking opportunities to work with international biotechnology firms, after the amended Act For The Development Of Biotech And New Pharmaceuticals Industry was passed at the end of 2021, an industry source said.
With the amendment, the tax incentives available to companies that fall under the act first implemented in 2007 are extended to the end of 2031, and the range of businesses now covers the contract manufacturing of new medicine and biotechnology products.
Moderna is looking for a site near the airport and has set its sight on a location in the Greater Taipei area, the source said.
According to the source, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the National Development Council have been in touch with Moderna since last year about establishing operations in Taiwan, with potential funding from the government’s National Development Fund.
Taiwan’s advantages in attracting international biotech firms include its established environment for clinical trials and the country’s National Health Insurance system, which help lower costs to develop new drugs, said Wu Chung-hsiun (吳忠勳), president of the government-backed Development Center for Biotechnology, in an interview in June 2021.
However, the country lacks the capacity to produce vaccines for international companies, said Wu, who suggested that the government should step in and bring together local companies to form a “national team” as a solution.
In South Korea, conglomerate Samsung Group began production of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine last year, while Moderna also has an agreement in principle with the Australian government to build a vaccine manufacturing facility in the state of Victoria, according to Moderna.
After procuring 5.05 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, Taiwan signed another supply deal with the company for 36 million doses of the company’s vaccine for 2022 and 2023, with the second Moderna shipment this year of 1,404,800 doses delivered on Tuesday.
(By Han Ting-ting, Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Chie-ling, Chiang Hui-chun and Kay Liu)
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