The government is committed to transforming biotechnology into a trillion New Taiwan dollar industry through fostering research expertise and boosting collaboration between local firms and leading international enterprises, according to Vice President Chen Chien-jen May 7.
Taiwan boasts a world-class health care system and broad medical talent base, Chen said. Deepening biotech cooperation will help upgrade the nation’s R&D capabilities, increase the global competitiveness of Taiwan companies and raise the country’s profile as a hub of innovation, he added.
Chen made the comments while speaking at a launch ceremony for a training initiative jointly organized by state-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute and Germany-headquartered pharmaceuticals and life sciences firm Merck. The program is part of a cooperation agreement signed by the two sides in March aimed at cultivating biotech R&D talent and sharing cutting-edge medication production technology.
ITRI said that the initiative is projected to churn out 120 biotech research professionals in the first year. By strengthening local expertise, the pact will generate job opportunities, expand the role of Taiwan enterprises in pharmaceuticals supply chains and bolster economic growth, the institute added.
According to the vice president, the partnership between ITRI and the pharmaceuticals giant marks a milestone for Taiwan’s biotech sector. It is expected that the agreement will help enhance the nation’s technical knowledge in such disciplines as precision medicine as well as bring the industry in line with leading international standards, he said.
Biotech is one of the sectors targeted for strategic promotion under President Tsai Ing-wen’s five-plus-two innovative industries initiative, Chen noted, adding that government efforts to promote this field serve as a blueprint for advancing transformation and upgrading in other key areas.
The economic revitalization initiative also focuses on the high-growth sectors of green energy, national defense, smart machinery and Internet of Things, as well as the promotion of two core concepts: the circular economy and a new paradigm for agricultural development.
Government measures to boost the biotech sector have already yielded substantive results. Statistics from the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that industry output totaled NT$315 billion in 2016, up 5.5 percent year on year. (KWS-E)