Taiwan’s Biotech Industry: Billions Invested

The Taiwanese government has promised to invest US$1.6 billion for biotechnology research and development projects over the next several years. This is in addition to the approximately US$4 billion private Taiwanese companies have invested in this sector (a significant portion of private investment has been overseas). The government is also providing incentives such as tax breaks for biotech companies to get these projects started. There is even a proposal by Taiwan’s Cabinet to allow biotech firms to use their Intellectual Property Rights as collateral for bank loans.

Taiwan’s government first encouraged the establishment of a biotech industry in 1985 with the formation of the Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB). The DCB is an autonomous, non-profit research and development organization established to help in promoting and upgrading the biotechnology industry in Taiwan. Taiwan biotechnology companies have a competitive advantage with respect to costs, as the average researcher’s salary in Taiwan is about 50 percent that of a counterpart in the U.S.

Among Taiwan’s rising biotech stars is the recently set-up TaiGen Biotechnology Company, which last month secured funding from MPM Asset Management, one of the world’s leading biotechnology venture capital firms. TaiGen has attracted dozens of investors and boasts paid-in capital of NT$1.6 billion (about US$48 million). The company’s expertise is in small-molecule filtration.