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How do venture capitalists in Taiwan deal with the impact of the pandemic? Taiwan’s blockchain industry shakes off global lockdowns and exhibits stronger corporate interest Why Taiwan’s AI ecosystem is a fast-emerging opportunity during the pandemic It's time for Taiwan to "turn crisis into opportunity," says Taiwania Capital
Global Insight

It's time for Taiwan to "turn crisis into opportunity," says Taiwania Capital

Bryan Chou 2020/04/09
 metamorworks via shutterstock
metamorworks via shutterstock

In recent weeks, Taiwan have garnered widespread praise for its measures to combat the novel coronavirus -- from foreign envoys, government officials, to high-profile figures like Barbra Streisand and Bill Gates. With big data analytics and information technology, the island nation manages to keep the number of infections low without imposing lockdown on its cities and towns.

Jerome Shen, General Partner & Head of Life Science Investments at Taiwania, believes it’s now the time for Taiwan to prepare for the economic recovery after the health crisis comes under control. “Taiwan should turn crisis into opportunity to stay ahead in biotech industry in post-pandemic times,” he said.

Founded in 2017, Taiwania is an early stage VC firm launched by the National Development Fund of Taiwan and private enterprises. It closed the second fund in 2018 with NTD$ 5.9 billion (US$ 200M) to invest in pharmaceutical product research and development, gene/cell therapy and medical technology, according to the firm’s site.

Taiwania's recent portfolio companies include Regenacy Pharmaceuticals, a US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough treatments for diabetic and other peripheral neuropathies, and Point Robotics, a Taiwan-based medtech company developing a robot-assisted system for minimally invasive spine surgery.

As the coronavirus shakes the global economy, companies across various industries are likely to experience a precipitous drop in revenue. But for the biotech industry in particular, Mr. Shen pointed out that the economic fallout can be even more immense as the R&D cost in this industry tends to be higher.

With medical resources largely allocated to fight against Covid-19, clinical trials for other treatments can be suspended or terminated; this temporary measure may lead to devastating outcome for patients around the world.

Lauded globally for their ability to contain the spread of the virus, Mr. Shen encourages Taiwanese medical institutions to evaluate their capabilities and what they can offer to the global community so as to attract multinational pharmaceutical giants to set up a base for clinical trials in Taiwan. He believes this should take Taiwan’s research capacity to the next level.

According to Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, three local health institutions were cleared to participate in the clinical trials of the antiviral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, while official statistics show that at least 128 hospitals and medical institutions in Taiwan are eligible to perform these trials.

TAGS: mdi-pound Venture capitalist mdi-pound COVID-19
About the Author
Bryan Chou Bryan Chou
Journalist
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Bryan Chou is a Taiwan-based and born journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Next and Meet. Over the past five years, he has written for a student press, translated numerous magazine pieces, and worked as an intern in two startups. He believes what shapes him into who he is today is not only these experiences but the people he has interacted with and the stories he has learned from them.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.

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