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Professor Zhi-Hong Wen Receives Innovation Award for Coral Masks
Publish date : 2017-01-05

Professor Zhi-Hong Wen of National Sun Yat-sen University’s Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources is a recipient of a 2016 National Innovation Award for his successful development of the cultured Formosa soft coral for cosmeceuticals (crystal ocean) in collaboration with National Marine Biology and Aquarium’s (NMMBA) researcher, Dr. Ping-Jyun Sung. The Institute for Biotechnology and Medicine Industry (IBMI) has just hosted the 13th National Innovation Award Ceremony, and the coral cosmetic products has been honored to the award through three stages of reviews.

The 2016 National Innovation Award has combined areas including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Big Data, and Interdisciplinary Smart Medical Treatments, and can be seen as the key international developmental orientations of the future. Chairman of IBMI, San-Cheng Chang, said that in general, the performance of Taiwan’s biotech industry was not bad in 2016, and is ready to roll.

The jury Convenor, Academician Wen-Chang Chang, mentioned that the 2016 enterprise group has entries comprising new medication development for allergies, cancer, infection, and inflammation, most of which has reached Phase II of the clinical trial, and organized tests in numerous nations. The academic research group has diversified and creative entries, focusing and providing solution on issues including food safety, air pollution, and green energy. The number of entries this year breaks the record with 107 contestant organizations and 142 participating entries.

The jury felt that as the cultured Formosa soft coral for cosmeceuticals (crystal ocean) is scientifically proven as effective treatments for skin inflammation and can facilitate healing of wounds, the product can be extended and applied to the cosmetics industry. Also, the potential of utilizing ecological and sustainable soft coral farming which can be combined with tourism and innovative aquaculture has been recognized as highly innovative.

Wen stated that the coral masks has collaborated with SYS Ventures, and has received a second funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Germination Program. Wen is currently planning to promote the coral-derived cosmeceuticals through teacher and student entrepreneurial programs. After passing the reviews of the Ministry of Education (MOE), the company will be established in NSYSU, and become a campus-extended business.

Wen emphasized that NSYSU has collaborated with NMMBA for the research of cultured Formosa coral on biomedical use for years. The research directions broadened from the development of new medicines to the integration of sustainable farming; the academic research has brought numerous unexpected surprises. Wen said that Taiwan has excellent aquaculture technolgy; combined with cultured coral farming, the technique may have further innovative development. Similarly, young farmers will need more skills when returning to their homeland. Coral farming can serve as the key element to raise the value of aquatic organisms and to further resolve issues such as sea life restoration, conservation, cultivation, and production.

On the award ceremony, Chiu-hui Chiu, director general of the Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs MOST, added that as the Ministry wishes to inspire academia in engaging in industry collaboration and innovation, MOST established the “Startup Enterprise Award” to encourage venturing teams of the academia. The startup enterprises selected will be assisted by MOST in fundraising, operating, and financial strengthening. The aim is to help startup enterprises obtain abundant resources, scale the business, and work through the difficulties of the pioneer phase. 

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