Taiwan, primarily renowned for its development and manufacturing hubs in the Information, Technology and Communication (ITC) industry, has not refrained itself from pursuing biotech research and development. In fact, over the course of the past 20 years, the Taiwanese government has aligned and committed itself to the global trend of building biotechnology as the next superstar in industrial development; tremendous investment has been devoted to academic research in the fields of life sciences, nanotechnology, and biopharmaceuticals. Taiwan’s dedication to the development of biotechnology is starting to see the light of day, substantiated by solid outcomes from mission-oriented national programs in biotech, pharmaceuticals, and genomic medicines in the past 5 years. The 2012 Taiwan “biotech rush” is evidenced by both the flow of stock market money from the ITC sector to the biotech sector, and the fact that nationwide private investors push share price-to-earning ratio to over 40 in several leading biopharmaceutical companies whose projects target new therapeutics in the late Phase III stage.
In 2011, there are some 1,500 registered biotech cooperates in Taiwan, employing a total of 60,457 people. Taiwan’s biotech industry sales revenue has grown steadily at 5% annually, and reached a total of US$8.2 billion in 2011. By the end of 2012, there were 70 publically listed biotech companies, generating total sales revenue of approximately US$3.0 billion. With the successful advancement of several new drug projects into the global/regional late clinical stage development, and the value creation scheme supported by the government, it is fair to say that Taiwan’s biotech industry is shaping up to become a serious player in the global biotech value chain.
In this month’s edition, I had the honor of inviting 4 senior scientists from different institutions to introduce projects/programs that are currently undergoing in their fields of expertise. The article from Dr. CH Leng of National Health Research Institution (NHRI) illustrates a novel lipoprotein platform that is readily applicable for a range of new vaccines for prophylactic or therapeutics use. Dr. Esther Chang of Georgetown University, MD, USA, has established her business unit in Taiwan to validate the nanoparticle technology platform that is very promising in delivering various payloads to target cells/organs. Dr. YS Lin, the CSO of Medigen Biotech, introduces his state-of-the-art B cell immortalization technology, which facilitated the discovery of specific monoclonal antibodies directly from human blood samples. Dr. David Ma introduced the ASCENT Value Creation Boot Camp program under his charge when he held a post in Academia Sinica. Each article holds its own merit in science, technology, or entrepreneurship training. It is the hope of this session that these articles provide insights for the readers of the different angles from which the biotech industry in Taiwan is taking off. We believe that Taiwan can not only play a significant role of being the “silicon island” in ITC industry, but also be a value-provider in biotechnology, making “biotech Formosa” a global brand in the future.
Dr. Stanley Chang
Chairman/CEO of Medigen Biotechnology Corp., Taiwan
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