BIO Asia-Taiwan 2023 A Preview of Laureates’ In-Person Talks in Taipei

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BIO Asia-Taiwan 2023 conference, one of the major events in the international biotech community, got underway on July 26 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. Three 2022 Tang Prize laureates in Biopharmaceutical Science, Drs. Katalin Kariko, Drew Weissman and Pieter Cullis each gave a 15-minute lecture online, recounting their experiences of developing mRNA vaccines and examining the evolving landscape of using mRNA for disease treatment. Participants from Taiwan and abroad, including many pharmaceutical companies, packed the venue to capacity, indicating the growing influence of Taiwan’s thriving biopharmaceutical industry.     


CEO of Tang Prize Foundation Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern, who was among the audience, pointed out that this occasion was three laureates’ first speaking engagement in Taiwan this year. While they were not able to delve into more details due to the constraints of time, fortunately they will be travelling from America, Canada and Germany respectively to Taiwan next week. Anyone eager for a deeper understanding of their research can apply to attend the Tang Prize Laureates’ Lectures on August 2, and get a chance to see the laureates in person as well as enjoy three carefully-prepared, 40-minute long lectures. Dr. Kariko will explore the potential of “Developing mRNA for Therapy”; Dr. Weissman will offer his insight on “Nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP Therapeutics”; and Dr. Cullis will shed light on “Design of Lipid Nanoparticles That Enable Gene Therapies.” Those interested can sign up for these talks at


Dr. Chern also shared the news that the Tang Prize Foundation is partnering with the Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB), Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (TBIO), and the Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry (IBMI) to stage an mRNA Forum on August 3 at the same venue as the Tang Prize Laureates’ Lectures. As an extension of the Laureates’ Lectures, it surrounds the theme of “mRNA: the New Generation of Medicine.” Several experts from Taiwan’s biotech industry, government agencies and academic institutions are invited to have an in-depth discussion with the 2022 laureates about the latest development of mRNA technology and its future trajectory. It will be followed by a Q&A session. Exciting new ideas are expected to emerge from the interaction between these eminent researchers from different countries and sectors. Taiwan can also benefit from this event in terms of potential cross-disciplinary collaborations that would ensue to further the development and application of relevant technologies. People intending to take part in the Laureates’ Lectures are welcome to apply for this forum at the same time at


The 2022 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science is awarded to Drs. Katalin Kariko, Drew Weissman and Pieter Cullis “for the discovery of key vaccinology concepts and approaches, leading to the successful development of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine.” Dr. Kariko and Dr. Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania found a way to reduce the immunogenicity of mRNA and Dr. Cullis of the University of British Columbia is credited with designing lipid nanoparticles for the delivery of mRNA vaccine. These techniques not only revolutionized vaccinology but also signaled a paradigm shift in protein therapy. They represent the advent of a new era of RNA-based therapeutics. Moreover, they can be applied to tackle various diseases through the development of a variety of vaccines, such as other viral vaccines, personalized cancer vaccines, HIV vaccines, and even allergy vaccines.



Tang Prize Taiwan Biotechnology Forum Program:








5 mins

Opening remarks

Chair:Yun Yen,

Board Member of Tang Prize Foundation

Special Guest

Chien-jen Chen,

Premier of Executive Yuan



116 mins

Panel discussion and Q&A


Chung-hsun Wu, President of DCB


1.     Katalin Kariko

2.     Drew Weissman

3.     Pieter Cullis

4.     Yi-juang Chern, Deputy Minister of National Science and Technology Council

5.     Andrew H.-J. Wang, Academician of Academia Sinica

6.     Sara Hou,

CEO of TTY Biopharm Company Limited



About the Tang Prize

The advent of industrialization and globalization ushered in a new era of comfort and convenience through scientific and technological advancements. Yet, a multitude of crises have emerged along the way, such as climate change, wealth gap, and moral degradation. To tackle these problems, Dr. Samuel Yin founded the Tang Prize in December 2012. It consists of four award categories, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Every two years, four independent and professional selection committees made up of distinguished international experts and scholars, including several Nobel laureates, choose Tang Prize winners from a pool of nominees who have influenced and made substantive contributions to the world, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or gender. A cash prize of NT$50 million (approx. US$1.75 million) is allocated to each category, with NT$10 million of it (approx. US$ 0.35 million) designated as a research grant to fund laureates’ research and education projects. The hope is to encourage more people with professional knowledge and skills to address mankind’s most urgent needs in this century, and to become leading forces behind the development of human society through their outstanding research and civic engagement.