Taiwan’s potential in biotechnology
For a decade or so, Taiwan’s Central Research Academy has been investing NT$10 billion per year in biotechnology, establishing large biochemical research labs. The National Health Research Institute has a facility in Chunan, and the Industrial Research Institute has a biomedicine institute dedicated to research and development of medical equipment. These three facilities provide a strong foundation for Taiwan’s biotechnology and biomedicine industries.
Taiwan has the potential to play a role in at least two sectors. Taiwan has the capability to provide contract research of new and generic drugs. The other is in the development and production of what the US FDA has classified as Class 3 medical equipment.
Taiwan also has the potential to participate in what is called “translational medicine” and “translational research”. The Canadians call it “knowledge translation”, “knowledge transfer”, “knowledge-to-action”, defined as a dynamic and iterative process to “translate” medical research knowledge into clinical trials, clinical practice, medical procedures and applications, the establishment of medical procedural rules, such as those established by Taiwan for treating the SARS outbreak under the direction of then chief medical officer and now Vice President Chen Chien-ren of Taiwan. The procedures used by Taiwan to treat the SARS outbreak has been adopted as standard international procedure in the treatment of SARS.
Taiwan’s biotechnology industry’s business revenue in 2005 was NT$160 billion. It increased to NT$298.6 billion in 2015. There are 1,871 biotech companies on Taiwan in 2015, with a work force of 76,000 workers.
Taiwan’s Bureau of Industry hopes to promote the internationalization of Taiwan’s PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme) pharmaceutical plants, build up Taiwan’s high level medical equipment industry, the production of smart medical equipment, the development of new biotech drugs, and establishment of biotech flag ship companies.