Expanding from a pure API provider to new drug developer: Formosa is growing

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Pictured Erick Co, CSO of Formosa Pharmaceutical during the acquisition of Activus Pharma, August 2017. 

Formosa Pharma, Taiwan is a subsidiary of globally-recognized API provider, Formosa Laboratories. This preclinical and clinical stage biopharmaceutical company has a strong focus on anti-infective and oncology indications. Having recently acquired Activus Pharma and its Activus Pure Nanoparticle Technology Platform (APNT), Formosa Pharmaceuticals is growing aggressively in the ophthalmology disease area with two late-preclinical assets on top of expanding the platform’s scope and application. Representing the company at Phar-East 2018 is Dr Erick Co, Chief Scientific Officer, who will be presenting to you on their exciting strategies and collaboration opportunities to target pharma markets in Taiwan, Japan and beyond.

Ahead of him joining us at the event, we caught up with Erick to ask him a few questions.


Q: What inspired the organisation’s decision to expand from a pure API provider to include new drug development into the business?

Erick: The mindset of our senior management has always been entrepreneurial with a drive for innovation.  Our parent company, Formosa Laboratories, an R&D center in itself, gathered a unique array of novel research opportunities over the years, both home-grown and through partnerships/investments.  The decision to integrate them into a new company, Formosa Pharmaceuticals, was a natural and logical progression.  Having the existing infrastructure and network of Formosa Laboratories has enabled us to carry a wide-ranging portfolio with diverse risk profiles.


Q: What is the biggest challenge moving from pure API provider to new drug development research?

Erick: New Drug Development calls upon a somewhat different mentality of R&D than that employed in API development, though the concept of novelty is common to both.  New drug development required us to look outside for additional talent and alliances to complement our existing core.  Our philosophy is to be a globally-positioned team with diverse and experienced members, so the challenge lies in keeping the team well-connected and working together seamlessly.


Q: What is the most exciting part of your job to build up this new subsidiary?

Erick: The multi-national aspect of our operations means working with a unique group of individuals with varied backgrounds and expertise.  We’ve assembled very interesting and viable assets with diverse risk profiles, and this translates to viable opportunities for future partners and/or investors.  Driving these programs are the aggressive, bright, and motivated teams at both Formosa Pharmaceuticals and Formosa Laboratories, and that makes for an exciting environment for drug development.


Q: How are you coping with the cultural differences after the cross-country M&A decision?

Erick: Naturally there are always growing pains with any acquisition, and those can be exacerbated when crossing international lines.  Anticipating the completion of the deal, we identified a trilingual scientific liaison (Japanese, Chinese, and English), who is now playing a significant role in keeping communication lines as clear as possible.  Moreover, when we made the decision of acquisition, a clear near-term goal of clinical development already existed.  We have upheld that goal as a beacon to reinforce the teams’ outlook for achieving our milestones.


Q: Which people or companies would you like to meet at Phar-East 2018?

Erick: Formosa Pharmaceuticals looks forward to meeting like-minded teams who are flexible in their outlook on drug development.  We fully appreciate that drug development is a multi-faceted undertaking and that all expertise may not lie within our existing network; that culture is already reflected in the global alliances we have assembled to this point.  Thus, we are continually developing and exploring unique models of partnership and co-development.  Formosa Pharmaceuticals possesses distinctive strengths in CMC manufacturing and preclinical development capabilities that may complement specific organizations very well.  We welcome inquiries and open discussions to identify matching interests.


Erick is one of over 120 speakers participating at Phar-East 2018. Visit our website for more information:  www.terrapinn.com/phar-east/

About Phar-East 2018
From humble beginnings as BioMedical Asia in 2008, BioPharma Asia has attracted close to 20,000 attendees over the last 10 years. Established as a true one-stop shop for all things biopharma, our 2018 program is rebranded into Phar East 2018 to explore innovation in clinical trials, manufacturing, supply chain, market access, partnering, pricing, and more without restricting itself on the type and nature of therapeutic products. Visit our website for more information: www.terrapinn.com/phar-east/

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