24 July, 2019
Taipei, Taiwan // Press release, Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (Taiwan BIO)
The largest event on this year's Asian biotechnology calendar, the 2019 BIO Asia-Taiwan International Conference & Exhibition opened its doors on Wednesday at the CTBC Financial Center in Nangang, Taipei. This event features three-days of programming led by 80+ expert speakers from the United States, Europe and Asia, with an exhibition to open on Thursday at the adjacent Nangang Exhibition Center. BIO Asia-Taiwan will also feature a full schedule of 40+ company presentations, including three days of ‘InnoPitch’ introductions from startup companies, as well as many affiliated satellite events and forums. And for the first time, the event is bringing the BIO One-on-One Partnering™ system, powered by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), to facilitate business meetings throughout the week.
The conference Plenary Session opened with remarks by Johnsee Lee, Chairman of the Taiwan Bio Industry Organization (Taiwan BIO), and President and CEO of BIO, James Greenwood. Wu Tsung-Tsong, Minister without Portfolio, Executive Yuan, Taiwan Government, also gave opening remarks.
Greenwood, in his main presentation entitled ‘Biotech as the Next Growth Engine for Asia’, expressed optimism for the current and future direction of the industry:
“The science is galloping right now. In such fields as gene therapy, cell therapy, immunotherapy, CAR-T therapy, the science has never been better.”
As for why the US continues to lead the world in biotech—evidenced by that around 60 percent of all new drugs developed there, for example—this was due to such factors as strong IP protection and the world’s last free market pricing system for drugs, both of which encourage investment to flow into the system, even given the industry’s inherent risks.
As for Taiwan, Greenwood considered the island nation well placed to succeed in this particular field. “All of the trend lines are towards blending microbiological expertise with information technology. To be able to mine healthcare data using artificial intelligence, to make clinical trials more efficient, and so on. What Taiwan is good at is it has massive amounts of healthcare data; sometimes you can use this data in place of a clinical trial,” said Greenwood. “And AI is now being utilized to design molecules. Rather than trying ten thousands molecules on a particular target, use AI to theorize what the construction of a molecule might be to be most effective on a therapeutic target.” These are ways Taiwan can bring its strengths to the table, he added.
Other speakers in the Plenary Session included Jeff Karp, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and MIT Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he fascinated the audience with cases studies of ‘BioInspiration’—that is, using examples in nature to solve specific real-world medical problems; David Fully, Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, Syneos Health of Australia, who covered issues around oncology; Katherine Andersen, Head of Life Science and Healthcare Relationship Banking, Silicon Valley Bank, who focused on funding trends in the biopharmaceutical space; and Monica He, directing BIO’s international policy and outreach efforts in North Asia, whose talk was on benchmarking the biotechnology industries and achievements of various nations.
Lunchtime saw a series of presentations around the theme ‘The Bio Cluster as a Growth Engine’, with speakers from Taiwan, Japan, and the UK touting recent efforts and successes in developing biomedical industry clusters.
The afternoon of the first day saw presentation sessions in two tracks; one entitled ‘Biotech Innovations and Investments,’ and the other ‘AI for Biotech and Healthcare.’
Tomorrow (Thursday) will see the grand opening of the four-day exhibition component of BIO Asia-Taiwan. President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-Wen will open the exhibition along with dignitaries from the US, Asia and Taiwan. With over 600 companies and research entities occupying over 1,700 booths, the exhibition this year is bigger than ever. A special attraction is an expanded International Zone, where 18 countries and states have their own pavilions showcasing the best of their local companies, products and services. These pavilions include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, and South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Thailand, Austria, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, altogether hosting more than 100 foreign exhibitors.
For more information, please visit the event website at www.bioasiataiwan.com
Taiwan Bio Industry Organization
Ph: 02-77003883 ext.14