Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Biotechnology companies eye Taiwan

SOLID BET:The nation’s location, world-class healthcare system and information and technology capabilities make it an attractive investment choice, foreign companies say

By George Liao  /  Staff reporter

Two foreign companies looking for opportunities in Taiwan to expand their scope of business are planning to invest millions of US dollars locally, executives said yesterday on the sidelines of Bio Business Asia 2012.

More than 20 biotechnology-related companies from home and abroad participated in the first day of the two-day conference and business-matching platform in Taipei.

US-based financial services firm Burrill & Co LLC, which has recently set up a branch in Taipei, is planning to invest more than US$30 million in Taiwan’s biotechnology sector, said Marietta Wu (巫薈), managing director of Burrill & Co’s Taiwan operation.

“We are looking to turn local companies into global players in the field of biotechnology, especially in diseases endemic in Asia, which is what we have been doing with Taiwan Liposome Co (台灣微脂體) with success,” Wu said. “We are already identifying some of the companies.”

Burrill & Co focuses investments mainly on life science companies, but will also look to transplant globally proven medical products to Taiwan and work with local companies to tap into Asian markets, she said.

The company counts on Taiwan’s capability in information and communications technology to provide innovation and extra benefits in developing biotechnology, Wu said, adding that the company can also apply its experience with Taiwan’s world-class centralized healthcare system to other countries with similar systems.

Wu said Taiwan’s location, solid research-and-development capability, increasing exchanges with China under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and government transparency were among the reasons for Burrill & Company investing in the nation.

Canada-based Novadaq Technologies Inc, a company that specializes in marketing medical imaging equipment, is also planning to invest millions of US dollars in Taiwan, Novadaq president and chief executive officer Arun Menawat said yesterday.

Novadaq Technologies would “first partner with local companies to market medical imaging equipment and related medical devices to hospitals in the local market, and furthermore to medical institutions in neighboring countries,” Menawat said.

“Ultimately, Novadaq aims to set up a base in Taiwan not only to supply the local market, but also to serve as a launch pad for other markets in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

About 100 business-matching meetings were scheduled yesterday and today for investors and healthcare companies to explore business opportunities with such international companies as Swiss healthcare giant Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co of Japan, said Elliot Tsai (蔡盛雄) of the event co-organizer the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院).

This year’s conference, with the theme: “Emerging Market of Asia: Investing for the Future,” continues today, followed by the four-day 2012 Bio Taiwan Exposition that starts tomorrow.

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