Wed, Oct 28, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Tsai sees medical biotechnology hub

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen yesterday speaks at the party’s headquarters in Taipei about her proposal to turn Taiwan into an Asia-Pacific center for medical biotechnological research.

Photo: CNA

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said Taiwan should seek to become an Asia-Pacific center for medical biotechnological research, tapping the nation’s advantages of possessing a genetic database of certain Asian ethnic groups and an understanding their lifestyle habits and environments.

Biotechnology is a fast-moving field and medical biotechnology offers significance prospects for Taiwanese industry, she said.

“We have excellent human resources in clinical medicine and research to study diseases specific to ethnic Chinese, with a renowned international reputation. We also possess a world-class medical system with sufficient medical professionals and facilities that are well-equipped to conduct clinical tests for new medicines and medical devices,” Tsai said.

“There are a lot of challenges too, as it is a capital-intensive, skill-intensive and expertise-intensive industry. This is why we should integrate efforts by the government, academic institutes and industries to continue to lay the groundwork by strengthening our human resources, capital, intellectual property and regulations for establishing Taiwan as the research and industrial center of the medical biotechnology of the Asia-Pacific region,” she said.

“Three major connections” are to be made — to future opportunities, to the global market and to local needs,” she said.

Cooperation could be pursued in core areas of medical biotechnology with the developed countries, such as the three medical biotechnology research strongholds in the US — Boston and Irvine and San Diego in California — and European countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands, Tsai said, adding that Japan, with whom Taiwan already cooperates in vaccine making, is another possible partner.

“We plan to push for coordination and integration of international regulations and standards, and for the implementation of the Cross-Strait Cooperation Agreement on Medicine and Public Health Affairs,” Tsai said.

Teng Che-ming (鄧哲明), professor emeritus at National Taiwan University’s School of Medicine, said negotiation over the use of Taiwanese medical products in China would be continued.

There is also room for cross-strait cooperation in the development of new medicines for Asian or ethnic Chinese-specific diseases, such as clinical experiments, he said.

“Taiwan’s advantages are that we have a sufficient grasp of certain inherited genes specific to [East Asian people], their lifestyle habits and the geographic environments. So Taiwan could be the experiment base and the early market of the industry, responding to local needs first before making the products available globally,” Tsai said.

Science parks in Taipei; Jhubei (竹北), Hsinchu County; Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung would be linked for cross-support and interaction to build Taiwan as a hub for the industry, she said.

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