Taiwan’s future hopes bright in biotech field 新生技發光 台灣未來希望

To gain a better grasp of Taiwan’s potential for development in the biotechnology industry, ideas organized a roundtable forum comprised of Dr. Johnsee Lee, Chairman of the Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB); Professor Yang Huey-Lang, Director of the National Cheng Gong University Center for Bioscience and Biotechnology; and Chris Tsai, Chairman of Bionet, Asia’s first private cord blood bank.

Dr. Lee explains, “The development of a new drug usually takes about 10 years from beginning to end. Its process is not unlike that of a relay race: the first leg is ‘discovery’, which includes research conducted in academic laboratories in Taiwan and abroad. The second leg takes this basic research and transforms it into products that can be used by humans, and is known as ‘translational research’. The third leg consists of clinical trials, which incorporates toxicology, drug effectiveness, and other types of human experiments, while the fourth and final leg is manufacturing and sales.”

In the wake of the global economic crisis, Taiwan currently possesses greater opportunities to develop value-added services within this “second leg” of research. As such, Taiwanese companies should begin to focus more on analysis of patent portfolios, manufacturing, and market competition. Attention should also be given to preliminary clinical trials and the production of small amounts of test drugs. We need to take advantage of this period when the U.S. and Europe have not yet fully recovered from the recent economic crisis and actively integrate all relevant units, so that we can position Taiwan at the forefront of the global biotech industry value chain.

Added Professor Yang: “Taiwan cannot follow the path of major high-tech nations. We must follow a more intricate road befitting that of smaller nations. To develop industrial technology, we must first find a suitable subject. This subject would possess favorable conditions such as market growth and global competitiveness. It is industries that Taiwan must develop, not products. Finding a potential subject is easy - making the right choice is the true challenge.”
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