On April 21, AmCham hosted Vice-President-elect Chen Chien-Jen at a special luncheon event, Opportunities and Challenges for Taiwan to Become a Biotech Hub in Asia. Dr. Chen sent a strong signal to the AmCham community that the new administration is committed to creating a favorable environment for biotech in Taiwan.
Dr. Chen was joined by other members of the newly minted cabinet, including Minister-designate of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien, Minister-designate of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung, and Minister without Portfolio-designate Wu Tsung-tsong.
Sponsored jointly by the Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, and Public Health committees, the luncheon held at the Sherwood Hotel featured presentations by AmCham chairman Dan Silver and standing Vice-Chairman Margaret Driscoll.
Silver kicked off the event with an overview of the latest advances in medical devices. Bringing together IT, big data, and mechanical and biological engineering, they promised better and more cost-effective healthcare.
Silver observed that Taiwan is well-positioned to leverage its strengths in medicine and IT for a bright future in biotech, provided that Taiwan can provide a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation.
Taiwan is well-positioned to leverage its strengths in medicine and IT for a bright future in biotech, provided that Taiwan can provide a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation.
Driscoll’s presentation on the pharmaceutical industry noted the lengthy time frames and high costs of developing new drugs, and observed that Taiwan’s highly innovative biotech industry would benefit from developing partnerships with multinationals to build global competitiveness.
Some highlights from luncheon and Q&A include:
- The new administration is “not waiting for May 20 (Inauguration Day)” but is already working with the outgoing administration and the Legislative Yuan to increase support for biotech.
- The new government pledges to accelerate the review of clinical trials and supports a bill that has been submitted to the Legislative Yuan to reorganize the Center for Drug Evaluation to speed up the approval process for new drug applications.
- An inter-ministry task force on biotech will be created, coordinated by Minister without Portfolio-designate Wu and including representatives from the Ministries of Health and Welfare, Economic Affairs, and Science and Technology.
- The new administration is looking to increase collaboration between Taiwanese biotech firms and multinationals as well as among research institutions, government, and corporations to expand Taiwan’s overall biotech industry.