Taiwan to invest NT$2 billion in medical equipment industry by 2020

Taiwan's Economic Ministry to invest NT$ billion to develop domestic medical equipment industry

Lo Ta-Sheng, Deputy Director-General at Department of Industrial Technology of MOEA (right) and other guests at advanced medical imaging equipment con (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Eyeing health care needs accompanying the escalating global aging population, the Taiwanese government will be investing NT$2 billion (US$ 6.53 million) in the medical equipment industry, said Lo Ta-Sheng (羅達生), deputy director-general of Department of Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) at a press conference Tuesday.

The ministry intends to invest NT$ 2 billion in Taiwan’s medical equipment industry with the aim of increasing the industry’s value to NT$200 billion by 2020.

"In 2016, Taiwan's biomedical industry total market value reached NT$447 billion," said Lo. "The medical equipment market business alone amounted to nearly 32 percent of the total value at NT$144 billion.”

As the global elderly population grows, demands for advanced medical equipment, precise high-level medical imaging equipment, such as ultrasound images, digital x-rays, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to detect and address chronic diseases among senior citizens is accelerating.

Internationally, advanced medical imaging equipment have a 60 percent share in the medical equipment market, stated the ministry.

Aiming this large market potential, MOEA intends to build on Taiwan’s advantages in the intensive therapy unit (ITU) industry, and use multidisciplinary approaches to integrate and develop total health equipment solutions that are portable, multi-functional, faster and more precise at detecting diseases, or even capable of conducting diagnosis of diseases in real-time.

Social trends of striving for eternally youthful appearances has led to the inclusion of aesthetic medicine devices in MOEA's medical equipment development roadmap, such as skin condition assessment and skin tightening beauty devices.

The ministry integrated upstream and downstream segments of Taiwan’s sophisticated medical equipment industry, accumulating 117 technology transfers from research institutes to industry, attracting investments from 182 companies and partnered with 18 hospitals to develop new medical equipment.

MOEA estimates investments from companies in its medical equipment project totaled NT$3.79 billion market value, and related market value is projected to peak to NT$31.8 billion.

More than 18 advanced medical imaging devices developed by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and some of its partner companies including iXensor (安盛生技), AmCad BioMed Corporation (安克生醫), Episonica (振磬科技) and others were showcased at the press conference that took place at MOEA headquarters.

For instance ITRI displayed the world’s first blue laser dental scan that can help create 3D denture images, and shorten the time for making dental impression to 20 minutes instead of taking nearly one day with existing technologies.

iXensor displayed portable devices for measuring ovulation, blood sugar levels, and heart rates that can be paired with smartphone apps, while Episonica displayed an innovative 3D ultrasound breast scanning machine.

Most ITRI labs transferred technologies to partner companies are waiting for Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can commercialize their products by the end of 2017 earliest.

Advanced medical imaging products developed by ITRI and their Taiwanese partners are more price competitive than European or U.S. counterparts, costing on average nearly half the price, but sharing the same functions and performance, said several interviewees.

Companies that successfully launched their products on the market such as iXensor and Episonica told Taiwan News reporter they plan to introduce and export their products to other countries soon.