Industry Watch
Taiwan business Watch 2020: Biomedical Photonics

COVID-driven biomedical photonics up by 11%

The global pandemic has forged ahead digital transformation in workplace and accelerated trends and development of remote work and automation. The growth in biomedical photonics in relation to Covid-19 too, has rocketed since 2020. The sector’s annual value of production climbed 11% in 2020 to TWD$55.3bn compared to TWD$49.8bn in 2019, yet the overall photonics industry kept TWD$1.4 trillion, slightly fell at 0.41%.

Annual growth in photonics by sector, 2020, Taiwan

Source: Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), February, 2021

Thermometers surge 76.9% in demand

Products for body temperature measurement and health monitoring, such as ear and forehead thermometers, blood pressure monitors, infrared thermometers, spiked 76.9% to TWD$7.83bn in 2020 as opposed to TWD$4.43bn in the previous year. Human body sensing & health monitoring outpaced contact lenses, in vitro body sensor/biosensing and medical imaging, in value of production. Leading companies in that sensing & monitoring business include Microlife(百略醫學), Health & Life (合世生醫), Rossmax(優盛醫學), Radiant(熱映光電), AViTA(豪展醫療) and Easywell Biomedicals(易威生醫).

Sitting next to the above with a double-digit growth was biosensing, up by 13.7% to TWD$10.8bn in 2020. Leading companies with devices and test kits for blood glucose, blood ketone, uric acid, cholesterol, haemoglobin (Hb) and lactate are TaiDoc(泰博), ApexBio(五鼎), Bionime(華廣生技), OK Biotech(訊映光電), EPS Bio(福永生物), GBC(普生) and Dr. Chip Biotech(晶宇生物). The contact lenses sector grew merely at 2.3% to TWD$35.94bn, however that accounted for 65% of the entire biomedical photonics’ value of production. Main suppliers in this sector are Ginko International(金可), St. Shine Optical(精華光學), Unicon Optical(優你康), Largan Medical(星歐), Brighten Optix(亨泰光), Visco Vision(視陽光), Pegavision(晶碩), Seinoh(精能光學) and Innova Vision(昱嘉).

Medical imaging, inclusive of ultrasound and optical coherence tomography (OCT), fell 2.9% to TWD$720m in the same fiscal year. Iconic companies in this sector are S&S Healthcare Holding(欣大健康), Diva(鈺緯), BenQ Medical(明碁三豐) and Crystalvue(明達醫學).

Photonics by value of production, Taiwan

Source: Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), April, 2021

Photonics in healthcare on an upward trend

Industry development and business growth driven by the pandemic are at a phenomenal speed- not just in biomedical photonics but also in 5G, non-contact technology and automation that are significant in patient care, that as well draws attention from several other sectors such as precision optical, laser, sensor and display monitor. Most recently the partnership between National Taiwan University Hospital, AUO and ADLink has been the case, following by is Largan Precision’s deployment of neuroendoscope and single-use disposable capsule endoscope, as well as a biomedical company Skyla, which has a parent company Lite-On Technology, focusing on point-of-care testing.

Increasingly healthcare spurs applications and innovations with biomedical photonics, adding yet another candidate to a list of unicorn companies in the post-COVID economy. Ritek has developed a biological detection disc to analyse blood samples, Asia Optical has joined hands with Japan-based companies to have introduced a non-invasive vascular screening device for home healthcare and Everlight has launched its UVD LED series for medical treatment, water and air purification and sterilisation.

Source: Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA); compiled by IBMI/RBMP

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