The government's biomedical policy has evolved over time, but has always centered on propelling forward Taiwan's next generation of industrial growth. Since 2017, the government has promoted the Biomedical Industry Innovation Program as part of its "five plus two" innovative industries plan, focusing on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, applied biotechnology, and health and well-being. In 2019, the government proposed the Precision Health Initiative to develop the three areas of regenerative medicine, precision medicine and digital health. Since 2021, the government has further promoted precision health as a component of Taiwan's Six Core Strategic Industries, incorporating smart technologies and innovative manufacturing processes by taking advantage of the nation's strengths in information and communications technology (ICT) and manufacturing. By 2030, the precision health policy aims to ensure health maintenance, disease prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics and long-term care for people of all ages.
■ Update legislation to foster industry development: To promote the development of industries including precision medicine, regenerative medicine and digital health, many important laws have been revised or enacted to expedite the timeline from academic R&D to industry application, as well as to reward innovation in the development of medical devices and emerging pharmaceuticals.
■ Improve science park infrastructure to drive industrial cluster effects: Science and research parks have been built or augmented: the National Biotechnology Research Park which accelerates completion timelines for new drug research, development and mass production; the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park, a one-stop location for incubating innovation and developing cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge medical treatments; and the Central Taiwan and Southern Taiwan science parks, which are using their capabilities in system integration and precision machinery to grow specialized clusters featuring industries such as minimally invasive medical devices, intelligent assistive technologies, active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing and generic drug manufacturing.
■ Create integrated biomedical databases as cornerstones for innovation: The National Biobank Consortium of Taiwan maintains high biospecimen quality standards and data standardization, and provides value-added services to expedite precision medicine applications. The Taiwan Gateway to Health Data platform facilitates access to major biomedical databases and connects users together for collaboration.
■ Mobilize technology to fight disease: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government swiftly established the Taiwan COVID-19 Research Network and Database; a COVID-19 screening and analysis technical support platform; and the Research Center for Pandemic Prevention Science. These systems assisted and accelerated the development of related testing kits and pharmaceutical products.
■ Introduce digital/smart technology into the biomedical industry: The government has launched a dedicated office for the development of smart medical devices, which provides guidance and assistance to large ICT manufacturers and ICT start-ups, and reduces barriers to entry for IT manufacturers crossing into the biomedical field. In addition, the establishment of a Bio-ICT alliance between industry, academia, research and medical institutions enables clinical evaluations of medical devices to be carried out simultaneously across institutions, thus bringing devices to the market sooner.