Taiwan biomedical revenues may break NT$500 billion in 2018

The annual revenues of Taiwan's biomedical industry are estimated to rise 4.5% on year to reach NT$488.4 billion (US$16.54 billion) in 2017 and are likely to break the NT$500 billion level in 2018, bolstered by concerted efforts by the government and private sectors, according to statistics released by Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

Of the total revenues estimated for 2017, healthcare services account for the largest portion at NT$162.5 billion, followed by NT$146.3 billion for medical supplies, NT$97.7 billion for biotech applications, and NT$81.89 billion for pharmaceutical production.

The same tallies show that the local biomedical industry attracted a total of 118 private investment cases valued at NT$52.62 billion in 2017, up 25.5% in volume and 3.3% in value from 2016 and including six investment cases filed by foreign enterprises, with their combined values of NT$3.04 billion commanding 5.8% of the total investment funds.

In terms of industrial innovations, a total of 50 Taiwan-made medical materials, products and devices were certified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first 11 months of 2017, up 11.1% on year. Among them are 34 high-price medical products including those for orthopedics, dentistry, min-invasive surgery, medical imaging, and more, up 21.4% from 2016.

MOST statistics also indicate that a total of 132 Taiwan-developed new drugs were approved by the US FDA to undergo clinical trials in 2017, representing an increase of 50 over a year earlier.

Meanwhile, numbers compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers Taiwan show that Taiwan's biomedical sector took the lead among all the country's industrial sectors in filing initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2017, when the sector registered eight IPOs raising total capital funds of NT$5.22 billion, for a 35% share of total IPO funding and much higher than the corresponding figure of NT$900 million posted by the semiconductor sector.

MOST sources said as the biomedical industry is among the country's "5+2 Industrial Innovation Plan," the government has amended the statutes governing the development of biotechnology and new pharmaceuticals, seeking to attract more academic talent and private firms to join the R&D of new biomedicines. Among other efforts, the National Biotechnology Research Park in Nangang District, Taipei has also been open to research institutions or enterprises to facilitate their development of new medicines, innovative medical supplies and digi-health.