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Biomedical industry growing on the back of new drugs, medical devices

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang applauded strong results from the Ministry of Science and Technology's (MOST) Biomedical Industry Innovation Program in 2018, including overall revenue growth of 5.5 percent to NT$514.1 billion (US$17 billion), and higher numbers of drug and device approvals received domestically and abroad. Taiwan also became a member of the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use last year.

The inauguration of the National Biotechnology Research Park in 2018 marked an important milestone in Taiwan's biomedical industry, the premier said. The new park—combined with the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park, the minimally invasive surgical devices industry in central Taiwan, and the medical equipment industrial cluster in the south—will turn the nation into a world-class R&D hub for innovative biomedical technology. Premier Su asked government agencies to help expand the domestic industrial market by drafting laws on new drug and medical device development.

MOST said that among the results of the Biomedical Industry Innovation Program, the private sector invested NT$55.264 billion (US$1.8 billion) in 133 biomedical projects last year, which drove up capital investment domestically. Six drugs developed by Taiwan's pharmaceutical companies have so far been granted approval in other countries, while 49 high-value medical devices received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 510(k) clearance in 2018 to go to market.

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