IBMI Annual General Gathering 2021

Special guests including Bruce C.H. Cheng, founder of Delta Electronics, Kou-I Yeh, president and founder of Inventec Group, Richard Lee, chairman of Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA), Frank Ko, president of Taiwan Display Union Association (TDUA), Chu-Hsiang Yang, VP TDUA, and Terry Tsao, president of Taiwan, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), were invited to the AGM held on 4 January. Together with the president, board of directors and supervisors of IBMI, the leaderships here represent healthcare, information technology and biotechnology sectors in Taiwan.

AGM opening remarks and speeches were given by vice president Lai, president of Legislative Yuan and IBMI leaderships, followed by an awarding ceremony in recognition of business excellence and keynotes on policy updates and regulations that have implications and impact on industry development. Nearly 400 professionals attended and participated in networking sessions.

▲Photo of government officials and industry leaderships

Healthcare 2021: Missions and Visions

Chi-Huey Wong, President IBMI: Taiwan can be a key indicator of new drugs and disruptive medical technologies  

Wong in his address noted that both public and private sectors worked relentlessly last year to ensure objectives of developing Taiwan’s healthcare industry are well understood. Healthcare worldwide goes beyond therapeutics now, and thus prevention and health management would be markets for medicine, ICT and biotechnology to dive into.

Pharmaceutical took a great leap in 2020 with 10 new drugs in close-out phase, adding yet another 11 out-licensed. This made a case that Taiwan has strong R&D capabilities, newcomers can be expected the following year, according to Wong.

Applications in AI and cloud computing, 8K display resolution and mobile sensing technology had been taken forward in real-world settings over the last 12 months, with positive outcomes witnessed to such as mobile robotics, smart diagnosis, automated detection, complex medical devices. Those field testing and technology vetting will likely lead to benchmark new standards and specifications of medical technology that can be internationally recognised and followed.

Wong brought up three missions IBMI accomplished in 2020.

The very first mission was the release of white paper titled ‘Healthcare industry development strategies in a post-COVID world’ wherein four chapters, 15 recommendations presented a collective voice of the industry. The white paper has been well received by the government as a guidance to policymaking as well as lawmaking.  

The second one was startups incubation and the National Innovation Award issuance. The awarding committee led by VP IBMI worked alongside 80+ industry experts to identify six award contestants out of 268 via a rigid selection process. Wong appealed for the technology sector to also fund and support startups, bridge them with access to markets, investors and even advice they need to scale at whichever stage.

IBMI has noticed many startup entrepreneurs who are medical doctors themselves, they bring fresh momentum to innovation in healthcare. The more the merrier, that multinational tech giants and venture capital companies could be in alliance in terms of startup incubation and acceleration. 

The third mission was the Healthcare+ Expo in early December. The Expo was a big success regardlessly- the event scale, exhibits and impact it created. Over 100,000 visitors flooded into the exhibition venue in four days, 1,600 booths were filled with a broad range of software, hardware and integrated solutions on offer.

Vice President Lai: The healthcare industry is made of medicine, biotech and ICT

Lai reckoned that each country should have a visionary plan in order to boost industry development. ‘The government is thus calling for ‘Team Taiwan’, especially in manufacturing, semiconductor and biotechnology as part of the Six Core Strategic Industries programme which had been developed to bolster Taiwan’s economy. Factoring in our well response to the global pandemic and the growing number of licensing, Taiwan’s healthcare industry shall be on solid ground’, Lai said. 

President Yu, Legislative Yuan: Taiwan can be a world leader in healthcare

‘Despite global headwinds, Taiwan’s economic growth outpaced Asian tigers with 2.54 per cent posted. Should we keep pace with that growth, we stand a very good chance to lead in the healthcare industry’, Yu indicated.

Jin-Pyng Wang, Founder of IBMI: IBMI will continue the work in promoting technology in healthcare

Wang was pleased to have industry, government and academy with IBMI- a platform for the brightest cohort to brainstorm and tackle challenges facing industry transformation, business climate, policies and regulations. He was also grateful for Lai and Yu’s endorsement.

Chien-Jen Chen, General Counsel of IBMI: Taiwan’s biomedical industry strides the world

Chen attributed Taiwan’ success in keeping the virus at bay to its 23 million citizens and face-mask suppliers. ‘The team Taiwan has also delivered good news in testing kits and vaccines, suggesting the industry as a whole is competent. With both public and private sectors striving for the fight against Covid-19, I look forward to positive results in the coming year’, Chen added.

Business Excellence Award Issuance to Corporates of the Year 2020

The selection of award recipients was made on a basis of licensing, R&D in innovation as well as corporate investment. Winners were announced and awarded in AGM by vice presidents of Taiwan and IBMI.

Leading on the list is Oneness Biotech, it bagged $530m via a license agreement with LEO Pharma as well as Microbio Shanghai for developing and commercialising Atopic Dermatitis (AD) and Allergic Asthma drug FB825. Oneness has recently completed phase III for a drug applying to Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU).

Foresee Pharmaceuticals, likewise, locked in $124m by licensing out its proprietary FP-001, a new drug treating prostate cancer. Following closely is Wistron Medical Technology, entered the award list with its exoskeleton ‘Keeogo’ which helps stroke patients and the disables regain mobility. Keeogo was launched to market in 2020 with FDA and TFDA clearance.

Keynotes by Cross-Industry Leaders

Bruce C.H. Cheng, Founder, Delta Electronics: Corporate social responsibility, sustainability and profitability

Cheng shed light on Delta’s business and CSR strategies and how they were evolved with his 60 years of industrial experience.

Delta developed slim and efficient switching power supplies to address the power outage issue caused by rising demands on electricity consumption. Its products helped clients worldwide save energy and reduce carbon emissions, with power savings up to 31.4bn kWh (equivalent to 16.74m tons of CO2e) reported 2010- 2019. Delta has transferred its excellence to developing medical power electronics, having had product pipelines launched to market.

Ming-Hsin Kung, Minister of NDC: Stimulate non-state investment, Taiwan’s biomedical industry to hit trillion dollars within four years

Kung was looking forward to scaling the industry following the government’s initiatives on stimulating capital and relaxing regulations and talents acquisition. He explained subsequently that NDC’s ‘Asia Silicon Valley 1.0’ development plan is working to untie the norm in angel funds and pump another NTD10bn into upgrading Taiwan’s startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship, in addition to NTD5bn which has already committed.

On top of that, providing assistance with startup exits (e.g. IPO on stock/OTC market or M&A) and achievements in talent development and acquisition were emphasized in his speech.

Industry Policies, Regulations and Prospects

Shou-Mei Wu, Director-General, TFDA: Simplify the validation process for Software as Medical Device (SaMD)

Wu shared in her speech the outcomes that TFDA achieved in 2020. The first one referred to a technical guidance to ‘Artificial Intelligent / Machine Learning-Based Software as a Medical Device, AI/ML-Based SaMD’ validation document submission. TFDA will be offering three more regarding Computer-Aided Detection (CADe) and Nonsignificant Risk (NSR) medical device studies to clarify a simplified process applicable to medical device pre-market approval. ‘It can be expected that ICT and healthcare deliver success through partnerships’, Wu commented.

Secondly, TFDA stipulated three facets of precision medicine, namely precision detection, precision diagnosis and precision medication in order to develop the healthcare industry. Released last year, the Guidance on Laboratory Developed Test and Service for Precision Medicine Molecular Testing provided instructions on certification and quality management for laboratories to follow suit. TFDA is also drafting a guidance to pharmaceutical R&D using real-world data (RWD) and real-word evidence (RWE), which looks to give a clear steer as to the industry’s direction.  

Finally, it came in with detection and treatment of Covid-19. TFDA has facilitated the process of document submission, reviewed applications on a rolling basis and set up a service hotline to assist vaccine developers, biotech companies and research institutes from registration through to launch.

Jang-Hwa Leu, Director-General, Industrial Development Bureau: Push forward amendments to the Act for the Development ff Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry

Leu indicated that the amendments will echo the industry’s needs and incorporate in the Act emerging technologies and trends in healthcare, such as precision medicine, digital health and regenerative medicine. IDB has dedicated its resources to attracting investments, collaborations and talents, it will continue to position Taiwan’s biomedical sector as an engine of industry growth.

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