With internationally reputed biotech Research & Development competence, Taiwan established the National Biotechnology Research Park and recruited those with new-drug development capacity and Dr. Shui-Tein Chen is one of them. Retiring from the Academia Sinica five years ago, Dr. Chen began his additional engagements in new-drug development and talent development with his pension as the startup founding.
Located in Nangang District, the National Biotechnology Research Park is Taiwan’s first cross-ministerial integrated park dedicated to new drug development. In coordination with the national policy in developing the biotechnology industry, the BioHub Taiwan was founded. After stringent evaluation, only few companies were selected out of more than 100 applicants in the first run selection.
Biotech company chairperson Dr. Chen: “The first subject, “An Early Bioptic Protein of Lung Cancer,” was the patent I applied for when I was at the Academia, and AC fungus is (the second subject) for small molecule drugs. The IRB considered that the two subjects meet and even surpass the qualification of park entry requirements, so they approved our entry application with our first attempt.”
This biotech company is under the leadership of Dr. Shui-Tein Chen at his age of 72. He earned a PhD in biochemistry from the NTU and has been the former research fellow and general affairs president of Academia Sinica. With 37 years of experience in fundamental research and a wide range of research achievements. He has transferred his achievements to many listed biotech companies to nourish the growth of Taiwan’s biotech industry.
Dr. Chen: “In my opinion, biotech is a very important issue and I do research step by step in the lab. I hope that I can bring this down-to-earth spirit and carry the way I train students from labs to the biotech company.”
Dr. Chen’s startup funding came from his retire pension. With the full support from his wife, Dr. Chen at age of 67, established a biotech company specializing in the research which is related to natural substances and biochemistry with two core technologies. Dr. Chen further engages in developing new drugs for COVID-19 with the AC fugus extraction technology.
Chairman Dr. Chen: “We treat lung cells or immunocytes with AC fungus extracts. The ACE2 of cells has been reduced to almost below 70-60%. All of the animal tests will be completed in May 2021.”
Being down to earth is how Dr. Chen sees life. He believes in taking one step at a time to accomplish his goals.
Dr. Chen: “No matter how good our plans are, in 5 or 10 years, we are looking for someone who has passion and vision to carry on. So, I need talents who are better and more willing to engage in related research. This is my expectation. Most people at my age, at least not me, would like to travel around and have fun in the rest of their life. For me, I still have a bit of mission to work on.”
Such a remark may have something to do with Dr. Chen’s achievements. Dr. Chen came from a farmer family and spent 10 years to finish his secondary and higher education at the evening school. When he was a high school student, he worked as a part-time at Chemistry Department of NTU. The coincidence made Dr. Chen have the great bounding with chemistry.
Dr. Chen: “Even, I spent one more year at primary school and skipped grades 7-9. Now, I’m pretty satisfied with my achievements as a professor and research fellow. Although I am already a successful person, I have established this biotech company because I see that there are other missions to accomplish in life, so I keep going and have no regret. I should say that, I’m sure this is the right way for me.”
The childhood experience and learning shaped Dr. Chen’s sincere and pragmatic attitude. Those great characteristics helped him extend to innovation and research. With those spirits, Dr. Chen strengthens his team to walk onto the global stage.
Interview and writing by Jin-Jin Li
Photography post production: Robin Zeng