Sun, Jul 11, 2004 - Page 4 News List

2004 investment in bio-tech expected to exceed 2003 average, MOEA says

CNA , TAIPEI

The outlook for Taiwan's biotechnology sector in the second half of this year is encouraging, and investment for the whole of 2004 is expected to exceed the average level in recent years, according to forecasts by a government unit.

The Industrial Technology Information Service (ITIS) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) estimated that investment to be channeled into the domestic industry will top NT$20 billion (US$593.5 million) -- the average level for the last three years -- for the whole of 2004. The ITIS made the estimate on the grounds that investor willingness in the industry is strong, pointing to surveys as proof.

Citing the results of two polls made in the first and the second quarter this year, an ITIS analyst revealed that planned investment levels by companies jumped from an average of NT$4.78 billion to up to NT$9 billion.

At a time when Taiwan's population is rapidly aging and the demand for medication is rising, the analyst expressed her optimism that investment money will flock into the domestic sector to surpass the level of NT$20 billion for the whole year. Looking back to the first half of this year, she claimed that various government policies have also paid off in efforts to promote the domestic industry. For instance, she said, the Science and Technology Advisory Group under the Executive Yuan announced that it will set up a gene databank, taking advantage of Taiwan's multi-ethnic environment, to launch research on diseases in particular related to Chinese people across the globe. The databank will be the first of its kind in the world dedicated to Chinese people, she said.

The private sector has also been in full swing to forge cooperative ventures with foreign enterprises, ranging from new drug development and market exploration, she added.

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