In March 2009, the Taiwanese government launched the "Biotechnology Takeoff Package," which is designed to develop the country's life-sciences industry, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). The plan focuses on four major areas:
On the investment front, the biotechnology venture-capital fund will be jointly formed using private and public funds. The Taiwanese government plans to contribute 40% and private investors 60%. NT$10 billion ($294 million) will be used to start the fund. The government hopes to double the country's annual production value for biotechnology within the next four years.
This effort follows the adoption of tax and financial incentives by the Taiwanese government to encourage research and development (R&D), training, education, and collaboration between industry and academia in biotechnology, according to TAITRA. The measures also allow researchers in state-run research institutes to take an equity position of more than 10% in a newly established biotechnology company.
Several organizations promote the country's life-sciences industry, including the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries Program in Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Taiwan Pharmaceutical Development Association, and the Taiwan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, which facilitates collaboration between China and Taiwan. Another group, the International Research-Based Pharmaceutical Association (IRPMA), established in 1992, consists of 43 research-based pharmaceutical manufacturers from Europe, Japan, and the United States with a presence in Taiwan. IRPMA consists of major pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca (London), Abbott (Abbott Park, IL), Boehringer Ingelheim (Ingelheim, Germany), Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York), Eli Lilly (Indianapolis), GlaxoSmithKline (London), Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ), Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), Pfizer (New York), sanofi-aventis (Paris), and Wyeth (Madison, NJ).