Southern Taiwan Science Park spearheads advancements in medical tech

From Taiwan Today 2018-08-31
Developed at the Kaohsiung City section of Southern Taiwan Science Park, these kinds of metal plates are screwed into broken bones that have been surgically reset to allow them to heal in place. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

Developed at the Kaohsiung City section of Southern Taiwan Science Park, these kinds of metal plates are screwed into broken bones that have been surgically reset to allow them to heal in place. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

Taiwan’s biotech industry is emerging as a leading player in the areas of advanced medical devices, intelligent health care systems and new drugs.
 
Spurring these advancements are the nation’s five biotech clusters, home to medical centers, R&D facilities and startup incubators. With its primary focus on developing cutting-edge instruments such as bone plates, surgical instruments, dental implants and artificial joints is Southern Taiwan Science Park, consisting of two sites in Tainan and Kaohsiung cities.
 
Taiwan is committed to positioning itself as a regional hub of biomedical R&D. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, total industry revenues from products and services rose to NT$486 billion (US$16.2 billion) last year from about NT$330 billion in 2011. The figure for 2017 represented an annual increase of 3.4 percent.

Companies at STSP in Kaohsiung produce a wide variety of medical devices and materials from dental implants to artificial joints. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

Companies at STSP in Kaohsiung produce a wide variety of medical devices and materials from dental implants to artificial joints. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

STSP, home to 73 biomedical firms—55 of which produce medical devices—is playing no small part in that growth. The total revenues of these companies increased 4.6 percent year on year to NT$9.53 billion in 2017, according to Joyce Chou, head of the Industry-Academic R&D Section in the Investment Services Division at the STSP Bureau.
 
Chou said that a growing number of products from resident firms have been adopted by prominent Taiwan medical institutions such as the affiliated hospitals of Kaohsiung Medical University and National Cheng Kung University in Tainan as well as Shuang Ho Hospital in New Taipei operated by Taipei Medical University.
 
Tom Lee, chief of the Investment Services Division, attributed this success to bureau initiatives aimed at promoting communication between manufacturers and practicing physicians. The MOST-overseen STSP bureau also operates assistance programs to help resident companies attend trade shows and build relationships with doctors in Southeast Asian markets like Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, he added.

A growing number of products developed at STSP are being adopted by top Taiwan hospitals. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

A growing number of products developed at STSP are being adopted by top Taiwan hospitals. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

In line with these efforts, an STSP medical device research and commercialization center was launched at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam last November. The facility exhibits products from 13 resident firms and collaborates with the Medical Device Innovation Center at NCKU on product development.
 
Citing a report by Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Vice President Chen Chien-jen said in February that going forward bio-based sectors are expected to account for more than half of gross domestic product in developed countries. With wide-ranging government initiatives and the focused work of biomedical clusters like STSP, Taiwan is becoming a leader in biotech innovation. (E) (By Pat Gao)

A digitalized dental facility is on display at STSP in Kaohsiung. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)

A digitalized dental facility is on display at STSP in Kaohsiung. (Staff photo/Huang Chung-hsin)