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Biomedical Industry Innovation Program: Building Taiwan into a world-class center of innovative biomedical research and development

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In 2017 the government launched the Biomedical Industry Innovation Program to push forward the development of Taiwan's biomedical industry and advance the health and welfare of the nation's citizens. Dedicated efforts under the program have already brought results. The biomedical industry's overall revenues continue to grow, and progress has been made in such areas as fostering talent, encouraging startups, building innovation clusters and compiling databases.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this year, Taiwan has won international recognition for containing the disease. The nation has demonstrated solid biomedical capabilities, with the industry contributing many years of accumulated experience to the manufacture of testing reagents and the development of therapeutics and vaccine candidates. Future work will focus on precision health, building on existing foundations toward a health care vision for all ages—encompassing health maintenance, disease prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics and long-term care—as Taiwan forges a future as a world-class center of innovative biomedical research and development, and a global leader in precision health.

Efforts are being directed into four action plans to create links locally, globally and to the future.

Action on four fronts

■ Establishing a comprehensive ecosystem: Taiwan is creating the necessary fundamental environment by building up talent, capital, intellectual property, laws and regulations, resources, and research focus. With the nation's entry into the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use in June 2018, Taiwan is better able to align its drug regulations with international norms and take part in the development of pharmaceutical regulations, all of which will boost medical standards and promote growth of the industry in Taiwan.

■ Integrating innovation clusters: Biomedicine research and innovation clusters are being linked into a continuous belt extending from hubs centered on the National Biotechnology Research Park and Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park in the north to the minimally invasive surgical devices cluster in central Taiwan and the medical equipment industrial cluster in Taiwan's south.

■ Connecting to global markets: Taiwan is using its unique strengths to pursue mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances. Acquisition funds and syndicated loans will finance the purchase of high-potential, international small and medium-sized enterprises, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device makers, distributors and operations services providers, to help domestic firms expand into global markets.

■ Promoting key specialty industries: The development of niche and precision medicine, international-level specialty care clusters, and the health and wellness industry is ongoing. Taiwan's participation in the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Cancer Moonshot program is a good example of such efforts, which promote the sharing of advances among nations and provide a shortcut for Taiwan into the global medical research and development supply chain.

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