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Putting the AI in Taiwan: A Peek inside the Use of Intelligent Technology in Taiwan’s Life Science Ecosystem

30 Jul

Cheng-Yu Chen

An interview with Cheng-Yu Chen, VP of Taipei Medical University
By Jessica Yang, Investor Research Analyst, LSN

Jessica Yang

In recent years, Taiwan has rapidly been catching up to the global Artificial Intelligence (AI) wave, as the government, leading industries, and academic institutions have proactively worked together to make Taiwan an AI talent hub in Asia. The well-known information and communications technology (ICT) and semiconductor industry in Taiwan have established a great foundation for intelligent technology development.

I had the opportunity to speak with Cheng-Yu Chen, VP of Taipei Medical University (TMU). Dr. Chen is also the Director of the Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at TMU. Taipei Medical University has worked with Life Science Nation (LSN) and brought its spin-off companies to attend the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conferences for multiple years. TMU is also one of the most active academic institutions in Taiwan and has built its own AI in Medicine ecosystem. This includes the Technology Commercialization Center (TMU-TCC), the Smart Hospital Simulation Lab (SHSL), an incubator/accelerator, and hospitals, which not only support AI professionals, but also help with early-stage AI companies’ fundraising and business development.

Dr. Chen shared a comprehensive perspective of Taiwan’s AI in life science developments, and how Taipei Medical University has become an AI innovation hub in Taiwan.

Jessica Yang (JY): How do you see AI in life science developments and opportunities in Taiwan?

Cheng-Yu Chen (CC): Taiwan has been seeking to develop world-leading AI infrastructure and to become an important player in the global AI value chain. Especially within the life sciences area, I think Taiwan can leverage the following advantages that make it an essential hub to develop and promote AI technology:

(1) An industry leadership position in the manufacturing of ICT & semiconductor hardware

(2) The Taiwan government’s strong support and commitment to improving the AI R&D environment

(3) A no.1 ranking in the Global Open Data Index and a high level of transparency of data-sharing

When all these data combine with our ICT industries, it provides a friendly environment for testing the application of AI. In addition, the Taiwan government’s ongoing AI action plan, which includes the intent to introduce new laws and regulations to promote AI development, also helps professionals gain access to over 20 years of data from the National Health Insurance Administration while maintaining patients’ privacy. Overall, I see lots of promising opportunities in Taiwan to incorporate AI in life sciences.

JY: What are Taipei Medical University’s current efforts and accomplishments in AI in life science development?

CC: Here at Taipei Medical University (TMU), we understand that “No data, no AI,” thus TMU established the first Graduate Institute of Biomedical Informatics in Taiwan in 1998, which cultivated a sufficient talent pool to catch up the current global AI trend. Then we followed the government’s AI action plan to build more professional programs in AI in Medicine in recent years. These programs are aimed to increase the number of medical doctors, medical technologists, and clinic professionals with a working knowledge and skills in AI.

Furthermore, we also have the Research Center for AI in Medicine, the Smart Hospital Simulation Lab (SHSL), the Technology Commercialization Center (TMU-TCC), incubators, and hospitals, all designed to advance AI technologies. A professor who has a great idea can start a company through the commercialization center, the incubator programs can help find resources, and our research centers and labs can provide systems to complete proof-of-concept. As an example, we have already curated three AI-related companies in the past two years:

(1) DermAI: AI solutions to detect Malignant Melanoma (MM) and the risk of acnes

(2) AESOP Technology: AI-based prescription error prevention solution to maximize patient safety

(3) Redica Health: Ted-ICU AI solution to help with smart hospital construction

We plan to start two more companies next year.

JY: Both DermAI and AESOP have attended RESI before! Speaking of this, does TMU have any international collaborations in AI in life science development?

CC: Yes. There are many aspects on which we work with international corporations and institutes. For example, we partnered with AstraZeneca on incubator programs and clinical trial collaboration. We have also cooperated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to organize Hackathons on Health IoT programs. We also worked with Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, and sent our talents to learn AI imaging and surgical planning, etc. at these institutions. For the spin-off companies I just mentioned, AESOP Technology partnered with Harvard Innovation Labs and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to complete prescription screening tests. We expect to have more collaborations worldwide in the next few years.

JY: As we know, Taiwan did a great job in in preventing COVID-19 spread – do you think AI helps with this successful response?

CC: Yes. Our government, hospitals, and research institutes all took rapid actions that made Taiwan able to develop a nationwide mask sitemap using AI in real-time, as well as an AI-applied alert system incorporated in hospitals to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread and local transmission.

In addition, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is gathering principal investigators’ ideas to further develop preventive strategies for such a pandemic, and many are AI-related. I think that as long as Taiwan keeps an innovative mindset and grasps the advantages of AI development, we will be able to build a successful and leading ecosystem in AI in the life science arena.

As AI is playing a significant role in the healthcare arena worldwide, LSN plans to launch the inaugural 4D Meets AI partnering conference September 17 – 18, 2020. This new 4D Meets AI conference is set to provide a new platform for all companies developing Drugs, Devices, Diagnostics, and Digital Health (the 4 Ds), with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) vertical, to meet and connect with investors and strategic partners. Visit to learn more and register.

The Innovation Challenge for Digital RESI September is Accepting Applications!

30 Jul

By Claire Jeong, Vice President of Investor Research, Asia BD, LSN


One of the biggest challenges facing fundraising CEOs working to bridge the gap between potential and partnership is the ability to stand out among a sea of promising tech and connect with the right investors for their work. Life Science Nation (LSN) wants to make the choices clearer for investors, which is why we’ve developed the Innovation Challenge for early-stage companies.  The Innovation Challenge is designed to highlight the best of the best so deserving companies can showcase their work to strategic partners.

The Innovation Challenge for the 3-Day Digital Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference in September is now accepting applications for two weeks only, due August 12!

For fundraising life science companies, participating in the Innovation Challenge is a great way to increase visibility. All participating companies will have a dedicated landing page featuring materials (example screenshot below) that the companies can use to promote and direct traffic, just like they would do at an in-person RESI.

In addition, they will be featured on the Next Phase blog and newsletter, as well as LSN’s social networking platforms. Finalists also are indicated with a special badge within our partnering system indicating their Innovation Challenge Finalist status.

Attendees are also encouraged to vote for their favorite, most innovative companies and the Top 3 Winners who receive the most votes can receive free tickets for up to 3 future RESI Conferences of their choice.

The Innovation Challenge review team has compiled a list of guidelines to help companies with their application process:

What makes a high-score company?

The evaluation process is based not only on scientific merit, but also on how ready the company is to present to an investor (“investor-readiness”). A perfectly scored company would have a transformational technology that can achievably address a high unmet need using a differentiable novel approach or target. Alongside high innovation, differentiation, unmet need, and market fit, a high-scoring company would have a broad IP position, an experienced management team and CEO with top-tier advisors, and strategic alliances with manufacturing and clinical partners. The company will also receive high marks for having what we call “investor-ready” marketing material (executive summary, pitch deck, website).

Clearly describe your technology.

Like any marketing material, you need to be clear. Be sure you understand and answer the questions fully. The team has seen unclear responses as to what a company’s technology is and its significance in improvement.

Be honest with your answers.

The team frequently reviews applications that state they have no competitors in the space, when most likely, they do. Novel products do have competitors before them, for established technology does exist in the indication your product targets. Be honest with whom your competitors are, and then address what the key differentiators are to your product. Even if your product is an incremental improvement, be honest and highlight this and it can still be attractive!

For example, competitors for your disease-modifying therapeutic may be symptom-treating therapeutics in the same indication that are either commercialized or being developed. You should identify these symptom-treating therapeutics and highlight your novel target approach that makes your product disease-modifying.

Explain your current standings in detail.

Outline everything you have in terms of your current standing, while also providing your outlook of where you hope to go. Avoid ambiguous statements such as, “CEO is an experienced entrepreneur”. Instead, provide details that highlight the CEO’s experience – years as an entrepreneur, number and names of companies exited, background expertise, etc.

Provide short-range and long-term horizons.

If you do not have certain criteria, such as a strategic alliance or IP, that’s perfectly fine. State your current standing and provide what steps you are currently taking to reach that milestone. For Alliances and Collaborations, state your verbal relationships; for IP status, state how many you have filed or are planning to file. Providing your strategy is better than a simple yes or no.

Put in a balanced effort.

You should not spend 5 minutes on this application, and neither should you spend 5 hours. Your answers should be brief, as well as detailed – the team has received hasty, effortless applications that are quickly discarded with a low score. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t spend an excessive amount of time on the application, as these are all straight-forward questions that you should be comfortable answering. Remember, as your executive summary should answer all these questions alone, this application is the backbone of the evaluation process and essentially your executive summary.

Send us your marketing material.

If you have marketing material, send it. This includes your slide deck, executive summary, website, videos – any supplemental material that can boost understanding of your technology and whether your company is investor-ready. The application provides limited space – while this forces you to get straight to the point, supplemental material explains what an application cannot (i.e. figures, graphs, pipeline, non-confidential data, etc.)

Companies can submit their applications for the Digital RESI September Innovation Challenge by August 12 at here. Learn more about Digital RESI September at

Before Buying a Ticket to a Digital Partnering Event — Know You Have a Shot

23 Jul

By Rory McCann, Marketing Manager & Conference Producer, LSN

Before buying a ticket to a digital partnering event, make sure your goals are realistic and achievable, and those will differ depending on where you are at in the funding universe. (Click here for a free copy of Life Science Nation (LSN)’s Fundraising Manifesto.) The good news is that LSN is hearing from investors that, after a brief slow-down in the early months of 2020, they are closing deals and allocating funds. The big question many are asking is, “Really? Even without face-to-face meetings?” Investors give a resounding, YES!

LSN is tracking 400+ early-stage companies in drugs, devices, diagnostics, and digital health in a diverse range of indications who have raised between $150K – $33M in various funding stages as a direct result of connections made through the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) partnering conferences. While old-school partnering says in-person yearly meetings are the ticket, RESI disagrees, and the numbers don’t lie.

Partnering is an ongoing conversation from pitch to capital allocation, which can often take between 9-18 months. These deals are made through first establishing the fit and then creating an ongoing dialogue that turns into a relationship. This means that it is essential to communicate and meet often via whichever platform is available, which in 2020, is online. Before committing to buying a ticket to a partnering event, it’s important to understand your chances of success, as well as what success looks like for your company, and which investors are truly qualified.

LSN gives early-stage companies a helping hand by having one-on-one interviews regularly with its global investor network to ensure every investor is vetted, as well as runs conferences and an accelerator program, manages databases, and offers a trove of free resources (Next Phase Newsletter, Bootcamps, etc.). LSN has everything an early-stage company needs to get in the game and play to win. Next week’s Digital RESI July dedicated partnering event is one of those resources we hope fundraising CEOs will take advantage of and will join our growing list of innovative companies funded through RESI. Find out more and register for next week’s 2-day dedicated partnering event at

RESI Featured Companies

23 Jul

By Gregory Mannix, Chief Conference Officer, Vice President International Business Development, LSN

Life Science Nation (LSN)’s newest 2-day dedicated partnering event begins next week, July 27-28. The Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference series has been a leader in global partnering events for years, and since digital events have become the only way to connect buyers and sellers, RESI has grown in popularity for its partnering platform, particularly with early-stage companies in the drugs, diagnostics, devices, and digital health (4Ds).

Check out the featured companies at RESI July. Click the logo to learn more about these companies innovating healthcare and life science across the 4Ds. RESI enables early-stage companies to reach a global audience of investors and strategic partners right from their home office, and at an attainable price point for fundraising CEOs. Check out our list of featured companies and remember that there’s still time to register for next week’s event if you want your logo and company story available to eligible investors and strategic partners!

How to Nail a Digital Handshake for Online Investor Meetings

23 Jul

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series

In the world of web-based meetings and partnering events, the digital handshake is more important than ever to get in front of the right investors and strategic partners. The introductory message requesting a partner meeting needs to be Step 1 of a 4-step plan to secure meetings with the right people.

In order to fill up your dance card at a partnering conference, you must first and foremost do your homework and read all the profiles of the potential partners. Make sure you only select the ones that are a fit for your company’s stage of development and product set – The Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference model makes this task very easy because you can search and select these firms by simply clicking through the investor profile filters and produce the target list. That is good news, but the great news is that, at a RESI conference, all the investor profiles are updated and full, meaning that all fundraising CEOs need to do is understand their target investors, review investor profiles based on their criteria, and create a list of potential fits.

Once you get the list of all your target investors, you then must send your first introductory message requesting a meeting. The message is a simple narrative which introduces your firm, with a hook to draw the investor in. This message should include:

  • Your company’s tagline, which nets out in 5-6 words what the firm is and what you do
  • Your elevator pitch that succinctly describes your company and the technology
  • What differentiates your technology or product innovation, and how that will affect your target market
  • Information on your raise and target milestones
  • Any other noteworthy net/net items about you or your team

Put this together and press send. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out document, just a crisp message that provides enough info so that the reader can determine if you are a fit and that they should say yes to a meeting. By making your message short and concise, you show the recipient that you respect their time, understanding that they are receiving hundreds of requests, and that you did the work to make it easy for them to decide to meet.

Following up is crucial in securing partnering meetings. Each follow-up message should be short and a “quick ping” in nature. Life Science Nation (LSN) recommends that you follow this order:

  • Your second message should be on the product/technology you have created, why it is different and how your IP is a game changer. Once again, net out your differentiated value.
  • Your third message should be a quick ping on key management, highlighting you or a noted team member’s experience that has moved the needle and made your company unique.
  • Your fourth message should include your one-page tear sheet, which has all the previous messages on one page.

This is a process LSN has developed and knows works – We have the metrics to prove it. Countless times, through the coaching that LSN provides to CEOs from our Focus on Cures Accelerator, we have seen the meeting numbers jump from 4-6 meetings to 8-12 per day. It works, and there is still time to sign up for the next RESI dedicated partnering event, July 27-28. Click here to sign up and to practice that digital handshake!

Pitch Perfect

16 Jul

By Rory McCann, Marketing Manager & Conference Producer, LSN

Pitching your company to investors may be one of the most daunting duties of an early-stage CEO, but a confident, concise, and compelling pitch may be what stands between you and your fundraising goals. Life Science Nation (LSN) CEO, Dennis Ford lays out a roadmap navigating investor pitches and more on The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto, and includes tips to nail a pitch session:

Tell your story. When investors have a foundational understanding of the roots of your organization, they get a better feel for the drivers of the company as a whole and can more easily put their trust in you.

Address the market. Discuss the medical need your product is addressing and what treatment options are currently available for it. Here you have the opportunity to capture the investors’ attention by showing them the potential revenue their firm may realize if your product reaches the market.

Hit them with the technology. Having high energy and excitement when explaining the technology shows that you yourself believe in the product and that what you are working on is innovative and investment-worthy.

Know what you want. Highlight exactly how much of the requested funding is going to be spent on the various activities your company must perform.

Remember that practice makes perfect. A CEO needs to be comfortable delivering the pitch at any point in time. Be prepared to introduce your company clearly and concisely, and make sure to practice delivering the important details, whether you have one minute or five.

LSN is introducing two new opportunities for life science executives to get their message in front of investors. Digital RESI September and 4D Meets AI are two partnering conferences where early-stage companies can apply for a spot on a Featured Company Pitch Session. These sessions enable CEOs to pitch directly investors and host a live Q&A session. Each company delivers a pre-recorded pitch hosted on a dedicated page enabled for downloadable materials and connected to a live agenda for easy access and optimal exposure.

Featured Company Pitch Sessions ensures that companies are seen and that their messages are heard. Click here to apply for a spot at Digital RESI September, which connects early-stage products with capital and channel partners. Click here to apply for a spot at 4D Meets AI, advancing drugs, devices, diagnostics, and digital health through the power of artificial intelligence.

The Digital Sponsorship Model Works, Providing Bang for Sponsor Dollars

16 Jul

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series

The world of partnering and life science conferences has moved from the function hall to the world wide web. Exhibit halls once ringing with chatter and the sound of house wine-filled glasses are now silent, giving way to server buzzing and unintentional background noise when you’re certain your Zoom account was already muted… The question remains: how can companies leverage digital event sponsorship, and is the virtual exposure worth the very real, non-virtual cost?

The answer is yes – companies that would normally be interested in sponsoring partnering and life science conferences, should be throwing their hats into the virtual arena. Digital platforms are providing more flexibility and evening the playing field. Sponsors no longer need to pray for a prime booth near the food and beverage corner or impress potential partners with better branded t-shirts and water bottles. There is direct-to-consumer access that aligns with the values of partnering events – connecting the buyers and the sellers to move the needle in early-stage life science partnering.

Service Providers Can Leverage Digital Events

Life Science Nation (LSN)’s ecosystem has always been deal-focused and transaction-centric from its inception. LSN partnering conferences are experiential, interactive, and frequent, to promote continuing development of business relationships, all the way up to the closing of contracts. While the onsite model has changed to a web-based platform, the mission remains the same, with increased access and flexibility.

Virtually any service provider who has a product to sell to early-stage CEOs can really be successful getting their message out at online partnering events. Half the attendees at LSN partnering events are raising capital to spend on the services they need to develop their products, and our sponsors are able to not only find the right companies that are a fit for their own products and services, but also have the extra added capability of learning about the bevy of portfolio companies that are sitting in LSN’s vast investor network.

CROs, CMOs, legal, staffing, consulting, accounting – all the service providers that make the healthcare ecosystem thrive have successfully used LSN partnering events to deliver their message and develop their brand. The good news is that the latest move by LSN to feature elongated digital partnering events has increased attendance by 30% and opened-up the global market to our sponsors.

LSN Partnering Events See Attendance Surge, Boding Well for Sponsors

Being a sponsor at LSN partnering events is a great way for companies in the early-stage life science arena to increase their brand and garner global attention. LSN has 2,000+ fundraising CEOs regularly attending Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) events, and the same growth trend applies to LSN’s investors, channel partners and the Pharma network. Funded early-stage life science CEOs are still meeting at the proverbial water hole, and its web-based features enable sponsors to actively engage with their target audience and close the deals that save lives.

Check Out LSN’s Digital Partnering Conference Sponsorship Brochures Below:

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