IT + CE
Taiwan biomedical sector urged to create AI-based business models
Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

Successful combination of Taiwan's IT and biomedical advantages can help shape new industry ecosystems and create innovative AI-based business models at a time when the global healthcare industry records a higher ratio for investment in AI applications, according to experts at a recent forum held in Taipei.

At the forum, jointly hosted by PwC Taiwan and Taipei Medical University, a representative from the government Board of Science and Technology said that the future of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries will highlight the combination of digital medicine, regenerative medicine and precision medicine technologies. The government hopes to promote the application of big data to the R&D of pharmaceuticals and the combination of biotech and pharmaceutical technologies and economy to explore new business models.

PwC Taiwan vice president HC Tseng said that Taiwan is a world leader in the ICT sector and well-known for its medical services. She stressed that the country's health insurance data bank and biobank are golden data minerals for clinical information, providing the best opportunity for Taiwan to develop digital medicine and AI applications.

On the same occasion, Brian Williams, PwC's global healthcare strategy director, cited the firm's 2017 Digital IQ Survey as indicating that 74% of the players in the global medical and healthcare sectors have plans to invest in AI applications in the next three years, much higher than the corresponding ratios for high tech, manufacturing and finance industries, indicating that AI will see wider and deeper applications to the healthcare and medical sectors.

HC Wu, president of Asustek Cloud and Austek Healthcare, opined that in the future, data can serve as a medium for connecting patients, hospitals, makers of medical supplies, pharmaceutical makers, and contract research organizations into an industry ecosystem to create innovative business models.

Frank Kung, co-founder of US-based Vivo Capital, commented that AI is really a very good tool but clear-cut business models must be worked out before the technology can be well applied to the biomedical sector. He stressed that only first-class biomedical teams can manage to collaborate with world-class firms and source sufficient funds to support medical technology innovations.

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