On the morning of July 19, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the 2018 BioTaiwan Exhibition, saying that the Taiwan government has been liberalizing laws and regulations, encouraging more domestic enterprises to get involved in biotech and pharmaceutical industries. She also emphasized that by integrating our ICT capabilities those industries can develop cross-disciplinary products and integrated service systems, and that Taiwan will provide more innovative solutions, becoming a global leader in the digital healthcare industry.
President Tsai stated that the BioTaiwan Exhibition, now in its 15th year, was organized by the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (TBIO) and has become one of the most important biotech exhibitions in the Asia Pacific region. Thanks to the organizational planning of TBIO Chairman Johnsee Lee (李鍾熙), she said, this year's exhibition was bigger and better than ever. The crowds and excitement at the exhibition reflected the rapid development of Taiwan's thriving biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
The president pointed out that over the past two years, the government has designated the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors as key industries, and approved a promotion plan for the Biomedical Industry Innovation Program. Through that program, we've set up an incubator mechanism for startup companies, linking local industrial bases with international market trends to create specialized biotech and pharmaceutical industry clusters in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.
President Tsai mentioned that since taking office, this administration has promoted amendments to the Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry. The amended provisions encourage more domestic enterprises to get involved in R&D for medical devices, new pharmaceuticals, and emerging biotech and pharmaceutical products with higher technical thresholds.
The president believes that since the law was liberalized more and more biotech and new pharmaceutical companies, as well as biomedical products, have qualified for various incentives for technology and personnel. We all know that R&D for biotech and new pharmaceutical products is a long road, she said, but it's the government's duty and responsibility to support our enterprises, and we will provide the best possible assistance.
We are determined and extremely confident, President Tsai stated, and have good reason to be. The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug researched and developed in Taiwan, and intellectual property for a domestic medical device was transferred to a major Japanese medical supply firm. With the government and private sector working hand-in-hand, she said, we will definitely see even more success stories.
The president emphasized that through the joint efforts of many people, Taiwan's biomedical industry capabilities have made great progress over the past two years. So the industry continues to grow, while investment continues to rise. In the 2017 rankings of Biopharmaceutical Competitiveness & Investment (BCI) Survey in 21 Newcomer Markets compiled by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Taiwan was ranked No. 3. That survey also gave Taiwan high marks for infrastructure, clinical research conditions, and intellectual property protection. So everyone can see that the developmental environment for Taiwan's biomedical industry just keeps getting better, she said.
President Tsai further noted that there's also a significant niche for Taiwan's biomedical industry. By integrating our very competitive ICT capabilities, we can develop cross-disciplinary products and integrated service systems. And the government is adopting policies that promote this direction.
In both the biomedicine and ICT fields, the president stated, Taiwan has a lot of talent and solid R&D foundations that have attracted companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft to conduct personnel training here. Multinational pharmaceutical firms like Germany's Merck Group and US-based Johnson & Johnson have also come to Taiwan to start cooperative projects.
President Tsai said that the artificial intelligence age is upon us, and that people continue to seek healthy lifestyles. So she believes that Taiwan will be able to provide more innovative solutions, and become a global leader in the digital healthcare industry.
Many representatives of the biomedical industry from Europe, the United States, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia were on hand for the opening of the exhibition. The president expressed hope that everyone will use the exhibition to look for opportunities to cooperate with Taiwan research institutes and enterprises, and even invest and set up operations here.
President Tsai pointed out that Taiwan's advanced technology, outstanding personnel, and comprehensive institutional environment will help firms surmount every hurdle from R&D to mass production, and achieve continuous growth. In closing, she welcomed everyone to invest in Taiwan. Don't miss the wave of the future, she said, and the new opportunities presented by Taiwan's thriving biomedical industry. The president also thanked all the domestic companies participating in the exhibition for showing the world the power of Taiwan's biomedical industry.
After concluding her remarks, President Tsai presented the 2018 Taiwan BIO Award, and joined the guests for a ribbon cutting ceremony. She then expressed hope that that event will be a great success, and that Taiwan's biomedical industry will go forth and prosper.