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Taiwan Biotech Sector Has New Rival: Samsung

The South Korean electronics giant is branching out and is developing new drugs in cooperation with two American biotech firms.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The head of Taiwan's top research group says the island's budding biotechnology industry is facing a tough new rival — Samsung Electronics Co.

The South Korean electronics giant already poses a threat to Taiwanese chip and computer makers.

Wong Chi-huey of the Academia Sinica told reporters late Thursday that Samsung is branching out and is developing new drugs in cooperation with Quintiles Transnational Corp. and Biogen Idec Inc., both based in the U.S.

He said South Korea's LG Lifescience has recently marketed two new drugs, outpacing leading Taiwanese biotech firms.

On the positive side, Wong said Taiwan has made advances in cancer drug research and could work with Chinese biotech firms to develop and market the drugs to the vast mainland market.