Taiwan: Pharma at the Tipping Point - Pharmaceutical Executive


Taiwan: Pharma at the Tipping Point

Pharmaceutical Executive

Alex Chang, CPO Head and Country President, Novartis Taiwan.
Mackay Memorial Hospital is a Christian hospital constructed 130 years ago in memory of Dr. Mackay, a Canadian who came to Taiwan to preach Christianity, and today is one of Taiwan's largest centers of excellence for clinical trials. Its superintendent, Cheng-ho Tsai, believes that Mackay Memorial needs to keep innovation high in order to compete with Taiwan's other centers of excellence and therefore win more business with pharmaceutical partners. "In the recent years, Mackay has not only spent a lot on research and development (about 3 percent of the total revenues, or US$10 million), but it also established the first hospital-based incubator center in Taiwan. By fostering collaboration with the industry, Mackay encourages the innovation results to be shared mutually in rapid ways. By providing a mature clinical trial environment, Mackay helps the big scale pharmaceutical industry to develop new drugs and also helps small-scale and new innovative enterprises to conduct clinical trials rapidly and safely." The hospital also provides eight laboratories to the industry in order to research cell therapy, and plans to establish 10 Good Tissue Practice (GTP) laboratories in accordance with American and European specifications, in which cancer vaccine and stem cell research can take place.

Thomas Willemsen, General Manager, GSK Taiwan
According to the superintendent of the National Taiwan University Hospital, (NTUH) Ming-fong Chen, remaining a center of excellence for clinical trials requires the optimal combination of various factors: proof of its competency, an infrastructure fit for purpose, having the best people and expertise, and, above all, access to the latest innovations. Chen believes that it is NTUH's "level of innovation that allows us today to stand up as a Center of Excellence for clinical trials". He believes that in the next 10 years, NTUH will outgrow the Taiwanese market and become one of the leading medical centres in the Asia Pacific region. His strategy in order to achieve this is to look to the potential of China.

Eric Wang, General Manager, Novo Nordisk Taiwan
Chen echoes many of the key decision-makers in Taiwan in his vision for future collaboration with China: "If innovation comes from Taiwan and is protected by patents, then it can be sold worldwide and China would become our closest and biggest market." Through partnerships with Chinese hospitals, Chen hopes that NTUH will be able to take advantage of this trend in the years to come. If harmonization of clinical trials between the two countries comes as a result of ECFA, the Taiwanese clinical trial market will be thrown wide open, and it is Taiwan's key healthcare personalities that are leading the way in preparing for this. As Johnsee Lee puts it, "If we can leverage China, this will allow us to expand into a larger market and bring more opportunities for biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare in general."


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