On 5 April 2021, a press conference was held to announce a joint investment between NSTDA, Thaifoods Group Public Company Limited and a group of investors and researchers in a new biotech startup Genepeutic Bio aiming to manufacture and commercialize CAR T-cell therapy for treating leukemia patients.

Genepeutic Bio plans to take the CAR T-cell therapy for treating leukemia - developed by Prof. Suradej Hongeng and his team at Mahidol University Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital – to market. The research has been funded by several agencies, including NSTDA and Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS).

NSTDA Executive Vice President Dr. Thitapha Smitinont remarked that joint investment is among several of NSTDA’s program aiming to promote technology transfer, research commercialization and tech businesses. Investment in Genepeutic Bio is a major milestone for NSTDA to bring this promising research to market and to drive Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy agenda. The company will be the first in Thailand to offer CAR T-cell therapy for treating blood cancer and will pave the way for this fast-growing field of innovative therapies in Thailand.

As one of the investors, Mr. Somphote Ahunai expressed his view on the importance of technology and innovation, especially in the field of medicine and healthcare as we are increasingly facing with deadly diseases like cancer. Despite being in a clean energy business, Mr. Somphote is passionate about advanced technology and its power to offer effective solutions to any challenge which led him to invest in Genepeutic Bio.

Mr. Winai Teawsomboonkij, CEO of Thaifoods Group, hoped that the investment made to Genepeutic Bio will enable Thai people to have access to this cutting-edge cancer therapy at a more affordable cost, compared to imported products. His company also places emphasis on the research and development and is currently engaging in plant-based and cell-based meat research with leading public research agencies and universities.

Genepeutic Bio CEO Dr. Nares Damrongchai expects to launch a clinical trial on 20 patients next year and have the product registered in 3-4 years. The company will also be forging collaboration with other medical schools and research institutes to bring promising research in personalized medicine to commercialization.