A new era of the bio-pharmaceutical industry: Taiwan Base, Pan-Asian Operation, Global Vision

President Ma stated recently that Taiwan has to grasp every possible opportunity to increase the country’s competitiveness and to overhaul the industrial structure so as to increase employment and GDP. Since the legislation of the “Act for The Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry” in 2007, there has been a wave of government’s actions in promoting the bio-tech industry, including the Executive Yuan’s “Diamond Action Plan for Biotech Takeoff” in 2009 and the “Cross-strait Cooperation Agreement on Medicine and Public Health Affairs” in 2010. Also, in September 2012, the IBMI raised thirty three important suggestions about the bio-pharmaceutical industry policies. These suggestions are fully backed by Premier Chen of the Executive Yuan and the President of the Legislation Yuan. With the government’s clear policy direction and stakeholders’ support, the future of the bio-pharmaceutical industry in Taiwan looks brighter than ever. In fact, the number of TWSE listed bio-tech companies in Taiwan increased from 13 in 2008 to 22 in 2012, and the market capitalization increased from NT$54.1 bn to NT$155.8 bn, up by 300%.

Also, the number of GTSM listed bio-tech companies grew from 27 in 2008 to 44 in 2012, and the market capitalization increased from NT$41.7 bn to NT$184 bn. This achievement is extremely remarkable under the global economic crisis. In total, the market capitalization of the TWSE/GTSM listed bio-tech companies has reached NT$339.8 bn.

The researched-based bio-pharmaceutical industry is a capital and technology intensive industry. New drug R&D requires huge capital investment and time, and involves a certain degree of risk. For many years, research-based bio-pharmaceutical companies in Taiwan have been recruiting new talents, coordinating international academic resources, focusing on the healthcare demand in the Pan-Asia region and devoting to the researches of innovative drugs. The efforts and determination have built up a high research capacity and scaled up the industry. In the past two years, there were many exciting research results, for example, Nemonoxacin and an inhibitor of hepatitis C developed by TaiGen, PI-88 developed by Medigen, and a cancer drug by PharmaEngine. These exciting achievements boosted investors’ confidence, and as a result, led to an increase of the share prices of many bio-pharmaceutical companies.

At this critical moment for the industry, the bio-pharmaceutical companies team up to found the TRPMA, hoping the association can strengthen the industry’s communication with the government as well as with the academic, speed up the coordination of resources, establish regulations and map out the future of the industry with a view to promoting innovative drugs developed in Taiwan. Hence, the TRPMA’s missions are:

1.To become the industry’s point of contact to facilitate global R&D cooperation projects;

2.To proactively participate in cross-strait bio-pharmaceutical cooperation projects;

3.To promote policies concerning the development of the bio-pharmaceutical industry;

4.To support policies concerning the NHI and pharmaceutical affairs;

5.To establish a professional platform for the research-based bio-pharmaceutical industry.

The purpose of the TRPMA is in accordance with President Ma’s administration objectives and the Executive Yuan’s “Economic Power-up Plan”. The ultimate target is to improve the new drug R&D capacity and the industry’s profitability, and to promote Taiwan as a major supplier and developer of new bio-pharmaceuticals in the global market. We aim to make the bio-pharmaceutical industry the driving force behind the next wave of economic growth in Taiwan. The growth will be generated by the economic transformation through an overhaul of the industrial structure. The whole nation will benefit from this change.

The TRPMA will make every effort to achieve the targets. We will stick to the principle of “Taiwan Base, Pan-Asian Operation, Global Vision” and devote ourselves to researches of innovation. The support and encouragement from the society will always keep us inspired and motivated.