• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan startup wins $1 million at US reality show for cancer treatment

CancerFree touts its personalized therapy that minimizes ineffective use of drugs

CancerFree Biotech makes a pitch at "Meet the Drapers" show. (YouTube screenshot)

CancerFree Biotech makes a pitch at "Meet the Drapers" show. (YouTube screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese biotech company has claimed the grand prize of US$1 million in the final of "Meet the Drapers Season 5" for its innovative technology to develop an optimal treatment for cancer patients.

CancerFree Biotech beat 1,000 other teams from nine countries and areas in the U.S. entrepreneurship show, hosted by Tim Draper. Draper is an American venture capitalist whose investments include Baidu, Paypal, Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter Robinhood, and others.

The company stood out for its breakthrough invention of a circulating tumor cell-derived analysis that helps develop personalized treatment for patients. The method shortens the process of drug selection, minimizes ineffective use of drugs, and reduces the risks of side effects. Only 20 ml of blood is needed for the approach.

CancerFree conducted human trials in which 1,000 patients with 130 types of solid tumors were involved. The startup has secured partnerships with two companies, one in China and the other in Japan, eying US$2 million in revenue in two years.

The company was one of 61 Taiwanese startups that made it into the finals.

Overwhelmed when learning his company had won the prize, Po Chen (陳柏翰), founder of CancerFree, thanked the National Science and Technology Council’s assistance through the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) initiative. It was TTA’s help, he said, that enabled his team to pull off a successful three-minute pitch in front of the judges.