A US cable released by WikiLeaks said TaiMed Inc, a biotechnology company that cooperates with US firm Genentech, was “leading the way into new biotech.”
In the cable dated Dec. 3, 2007, issued by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), then-AIT director Stephen Young also gave high praise to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), referring to her as a “graduate of Cornell and the London School of Economics, [who] exemplifies the new blood that Taiwan is relying on to remain competitive in the world market.”
Tsai was “optimistic about Taiwan’s ability to excel in biotech,” the cable said, adding that “with their expertise and experience, they could provide the impetus for Taiwan to develop a sector with as much potential as high technology.”
“Biotech accounts for up to US$800 billion in product value worldwide, of which Taiwan -contributes only 0.6 percent, or about US$4.7 billion, compared with US$200 billion for Japan, US$15.9 billion for Singapore and US$7.5 billion for South Korea,” it said. “Taiwan is trying hard to catch up with its regional competitors.”
Taiwan’s economic future lies in biotechnology and given its large pool of talent both at home and abroad, it has the potential to develop quickly, the cable said.
The cable also mentioned Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), saying he is “an MIT graduate and genomics expert who worked at Scripps Research Institute, before returning to Taiwan.”
“Wong’s interest is in chemical biology and new drugs, and he is the prime mover behind Taiwan’s efforts to attract biotech,” it added.
However, the cable also cited deficiencies in the education of Intellectual Property Rights personnel, marketing and wages as being potential challenges to the sector’s development.