Sat, Feb 23, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Biotech park 80% empty year after opening

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A sign marks the entrance of the National Biotechnology Research Park in Taipei’s Nangang District on Oct. 15 last year.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

More than 80 percent of the commercial space at the National Biotechnology Research Park opened last year in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) has still not been rented out, with only eight firms having moved into the buildings, Academia Sinica said yesterday.

The complex of several buildings near Academia Sinica was inaugurated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Oct. 15 last year, almost a decade after the Executive Yuan approved construction plans in 2009.

The Food and Drug Administration, National Laboratory Animal Center and Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Development Center for Biotechnology, and several Academia Sinica research centers have moved into the park, but it is unclear whether private-sector firms are interested, with only a handful of biotechnology and biomedicine companies renting space.

In comparison, the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park, which houses a National Taiwan University Hospital branch, last month housed 55 companies, Ministry of Science and Technology data showed.

The Nangang park’s incubation center — BioHub Taiwan — is to hold an information meeting for start-ups and other companies on March 27, Academia Sinica said.

The institution is represented on the park’s management board and is responsible for the facility’s public relations.

BioHub Taiwan also plans to invite international biomedicine accelerators to enter the park and bring in venture capital funding to make it more attractive, it said.

Academia Sinica is not the only party responsible for attracting tenants, but it hopes to make the park a success, Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) said.

Government funding for basic research is limited, so the public should lend basic research more support, instead of expecting instant results, Liao said.

To improve traffic conditions in the vicinity, the Taipei City Government plans to construct a tunnel between the park and Nangang Railway Station, which lies on the other side of a hill, Academia Sinica Secretary-General Peng Shin-kun (彭信坤) said.

However, construction might take five years due to the time needed for environmental impact assessment procedures, Peng said.

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