The world’s largest gathering of the global biotechnology community, the 2019 BIO International Convention, concluded on June 6th in Philadelphia, USA. Taiwan’s 200-plus-member delegation, led by Minister without Portfolio Wu Tsung-Tsong of the Executive Yuan, is on its way home after a successful showing at the exhibition as well as many productive side visits and meetings around the city of brotherly love.
To strengthen the planning and cohesive consensus on the blueprint of the biomedical industry development, the Board of Science and Technology, Executive Yuan, held an overseas meeting of the Bio Taiwan Committee (BTC), inviting overseas-based members, including: Vivo Capital founder Dr. Frank Kung; former FDA official Dr. Chiu Shiong Lin; and pharmaceutical industry veterans Dr. David Y.H. Chang, Dr. Michael Su, and Dr. Sherry Ku to continue the effort to advocate and advance Taiwan’s biomedical competitiveness.
In the meeting, Minister Wu emphasized that in the recent years, the government has put tremendous resources in developing talents, technique, funding and regulations to establish a complete ecosystem that strengthen and integrate biomedical and ICT technologies should be the focus going forward to create a higher value industry. The forthcoming of the Taiwan Bio bank will connect the entire biological database to be more effectively integrated. The application of big data in Taiwan’s national health insurance can be used to attract investment and research from global pharma powerhouses. In addition, with the emerging trend of regenerative medicine, Taiwan has already established a basic infrastructure and inter-ministries are expected to collaborate closely together to support the industrial development.
At the exhibition, Taiwan Pavilion created the impression of the national team with diverse energy to promote Taiwan’s excellent medical environment and international competitiveness. With over 40 booths, the pavilion included presentations from the private sector, government and academia. Governmental-funded research institutes included Academia Sinica, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB), the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industry Technology and Development Center (PITDC), the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), the Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI), and the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL). Fourteen various innovative technologies were on display such as gene banks, precision medicine, biomedical imaging VR software and cell therapy technologies. From the private sector, 20 companies showcased their products, technologies, and services; from drug development to CMO, from agricultural biotechnology to smart medical technologies. The Global Research & Industry Alliance (GLORIA), a joint Taiwan government-industry-academia initiative to facilitate technology development. This year, twelves research universities participated in BIO and exhibited at least 40 technologies. Seven startups spin off from National Cheng Kung University, National Yang-Ming University and National Tsing Hua were also on display at the pavilion, fully demonstrated Taiwan’s academic excellence in the biomedical researches.
This year, the total number of the delegation exceeded 210. Through BIO’s One-on-One Partnering platform, more than 570 meetings were matched with the global biomedical experts to discuss the opportunity of future collaboration, a full reflection of Taiwan’s blazing development in biomedical industry. This year, Taiwan has three start-ups that were spin-off from universities won The Redefining Early Stage Investment (RESI) which attracted the attention of angel investors and effectively promoted Taiwan’s fruitful innovation in biomedical research and development
To promote Taiwan’s excellent clinical trial ecosystem, Deputy Minister Shieh Dar-Bin of the Ministry of Science and Technology gave a speech on June 5th at the Global Innovation Hub event, entitled “Hub for Advanced Therapy in Asia Pacific-Ecosystem and Clinical Trials”. Shieh introduced Taiwan’s advanced medical technology, international medical services and a sound national healthcare policy. He also reiterated Taiwan’s determination to become a Center for Excellence in Clinical Trials in the Asia-Pacific region, and its plans to attract foreign expertise—and clients—for cooperation and exchange.
The delegation took part in many side activities, included a visit to the Pennovation Center, a well-known accelerator affiliated to University of Pennsylvania as well as visits to pharmaceutical firms AstraZeneca and Celgene. The delegation also stopped at WuXi App Tec and a CRO firm, QPS. With its sights set on becoming a leading Asian cell therapy hub, through these visits, Taiwan is building networks to attract global expertise and cooperation in this field. Since the Taiwan government announced its Biomedical Industry Innovation Program in 2017, the sector’s growth has been impressive. With international exchange and cooperation an essential element of this program, Taiwan will continue to participate in international conferences and exhibitions. With promotion platforms such as the Taiwan Pavilion, innovations, achievements, and aspirations can be showcased for the world to see. And through the efforts of the government, bridges have been strengthened for better cooperation between Taiwan and the international biomedical community.