Taiwan revving up to become biomedical R&D base in Asia Pacific

Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Taiwan is stepping up fostering startups with more innovations in the biotech sector aiming to build a major biotech and medicine R&D base in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on precision health and medicine, according to government sources.

The government has listed biomedicine as one of the six core strategic industries for priority development in the next few years, and will significantly strengthen biomedical resources and anti-epidemic tech momentum, the sources said.

Government officials said Taiwan's biomedicine industry will focus more on promoting precision health for people in all age groups through diverse aspects such as prediction, prevention, inspection, medication and care services.

The officials stressed that along with the advancements of AI applications, precision medicine is emerging as a major trend and will continue to usher in new changes and advancements in healthcare services, with biobanks and relevant data to play a key role in biotech innovations and new products development.

Taiwan now has a total of 32 biobanks with around 4.5 million specimens, providing unique biomedical resources to support the country's development of precision medicine. This, coupled with big data from the national health insurance databank, can attract multinational pharmaceutical firms to jointly develop biomedical drugs, the officials believe.

Taiwan still lags in some advance medical technologies such as immunotherapy, cellular therapy, gene therapy, CAR-T and RNAi, the officials said, adding that the country can leverage its ICT advantage to support cross-domain cooperation with the biomedical sector in developing precision inspection technology and equipment, precision medicines, and personalized healthcare services.