October 15, 2018 marked the opening of Taiwan’s first biotechnology research park established through inter-agency collaboration, with President Tsai Ing-wen, Academia Sinica President James C. Liao and around 500 distinguished guests from industry, government, and academia attending the opening ceremony. Academia Sinica President Liao stated that the park would enable Academia Sinica to focus on translation research in biomedicine, provide a technology platform, and transfer cutting-edge research results to start-ups, thereby turning its abundant research energy into momentum that can help advance the nation.
During her remarks, President Tsai stated that the mission of the National Biotechnology Research Park (NBRP) involves fostering the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology industry, including research on new medicines and vaccines. As the nation’s newest research park, the NBRP will align with the Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park to form a complete industry corridor in biotechnology for Taiwan. President Tsai also expressed her hope that the NBRP can stimulate a cluster effect to facilitate the nation’s biotechnological development and create jobs, thereby building another trillion-dollar industry.
In addition to thanking all the central government agencies, local governments, and many other individuals concerned with ecology and environment protection for their support and collaboration, President Tsai also recognized the efforts of President Liao, former President Lee Yuan-Tseh, and former President Wong Chi-huey. She also mentioned that Vice President Chen Chien-jen played a significant role promoting the development of the NBRP during his tenure as Vice President of Academia Sinica.
President Liao’s remarks conveyed his profound gratitude for the construction team’s unstinting efforts and everyone’s mindfulness and support in helping complete this project since Academia Sinica first launched it back in 2010. As for the Park’s operations, President Liao indicated that a Joint Governing Board consisting of interdepartmental agencies would be responsible for its management. Two units under the Board’s jurisdiction, the Executive Office and Biotechnology Incubation Center, have been charged with developing new drugs and nurturing start-up projects.
Based on its mission of advancing research and development, as well as cultivating new forms of knowledge, the NBRP embraces five main visions: translation, innovation, nurturing, international cooperation, and sustainability. The NBRP, integrated with research resources from Academia Sinica, local universities and medical centers, has been designed to construct a hub where a resource-sharing biotech cluster can join with academic-industrial collaboration to become a world-class biotechnology park similar to those in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego. In addition, the NBRP seeks to facilitate the development of new drugs, while simultaneously benefiting elements of the biotechnology supply chain such as polymeric materials, medical devices, medical testing & evaluation services, analytical instruments, and medical device clinical trials. In this manner, Taiwan’s biotechnology industry can not only make new breakthroughs but also further internationalize its pharmaceutical development.
According to Dr. Jou Yuh-Shan, Vice Executive Officer of the NBRP, minimizing the project’s environmental impact has been a core principle undergirding the Park’s construction. Other aspects of ecological conservation include urban open space, greenery preservation, storage pond increments, greenway restoration, wetland restoration, and community rapport. Of the 25 hectares covered by this project, only 28% have been used for buildings, while the remaining 72% are reserved as an ecological conservation area and artificial wetland to ensure that this area’s original ecology remains untouched. Moreover, the NBRP is the first biotechnology park consisting of interdepartmental agencies to promote research and development. The NBRP is designed to benefit from collaborating with Academia Sinica and its work in translational medicine research; with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Development Center for Biotechnology for added-value development and commercialization services; with the Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Laboratory Animal Center for support of medical devices and the preclinical trials; and with the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taiwan Food and Drug Administration for its regulatory advice and integration of biotech developments.
The NBRP development project was approved by the Executive Yuan under instructions from the Presidential Office. This was followed by acquiring land from Ministry of Defense, rezoning, environmental impact inspections and assessments, the approval of soil and water conservation plans, and urban design review plus a construction permit issued by Taipei City Hall. In 2014, miscellaneous and construction licenses were issued in May and November respectively, following which construction work was undertaken, with a total of seven buildings being erected. Usage licenses were issued in October 2017 and February 2018, with all construction successfully completed on June 30, 2018.