Life sciences innovation is critical to growth and socio-economic development as healthy people produce healthy economies. Efficient and effective delivery of patient-focused products and services can improve a population's longevity, wellness, productivity and economic potential.

Established by APEC Leaders in 2002, the Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) has since grown to become APEC's leading initiative on health and health sciences innovation. It is a tripartite forum that engages representatives from the highest levels of government, industry and academia to create the right policy environment for life sciences innovation. The LSIF brings together scientific, health, trade, economic and financial considerations to address the challenges of infectious and chronic disease and ageing populations. Guiding principles include transparency, meaningful dialogue with stakeholders and recognition of due process. The LSIF forum also acknowledges that capacity building is critical to successful implementation.  In March 2011, the LSIF held its first joint meeting with the Health Working Group (HWG) in Washington DC, the United States to explore possible cooperation areas. The second joint event with HWG was held in St. Petersburg, Russia with the theme "Health and the Economy: Investing in a Healthy Life Course."  LSIF members acknowledged that health is an economic asset that should be preserved and enhanced to drive sustainable growth.  

In the LSIF Special Session held in Medan at SOM3 in 2013, the “Principles for Developing the Innovative Health and Life Sciences Sector in APEC Economies” was approved. This document will serve as guidance for the future work of LSIF.

For more information, please visit the LSIF Web Blog  

Current Activities

The first LSIF Planning Group meeting in 2014 was held in Ningbo, China on 22 February. Members proposed a Life Sciences Innovation Forum and Health Working Group joint High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy during SOM 3 2014, with the theme of “Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020."

Selected Highlights of Current Projects

Global Medical Product Quality and Supply Chain Integrity

APEC economies are adversely impacted by the international movement of spurious, substandard, falsified, falsely-labelled and counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products. As the medical products industry has become more globalized and specialized, APEC economies must increasingly rely on the global marketplace to provide the medical products needed to keep citizens healthy and ensure trade in legitimate products is not disrupted. Specific areas  being explored include good distribution practices,  controls on components used as part of good manufacturing practices and quality management systems, import and export practices, dispensing practices via the internet, detection technologies, and  establishment of a single point-of-contact (SPOC) within each APEC economy.  This APEC multi-year project includes activities focused on developing and implementing processes and procedures directed at regulatory convergence to efficiently enhance global medical product quality and supply chain integrity. For more information:

APEC Multi-Regional Clinical Trial (MRCT) Regulatory Science Center of Excellence - 2013 Pilot 

The APEC LSIF Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (RHSC) is tasked to achieve regional convergence on regulatory approval procedures for medical products by 2020. Multi-regional clinical trials (MCRT) is the simultaneous conduct of a clinical trial in multiple geographical regions.  These clinical trials play a major role in providing patients with access to innovative new medicines. The APEC region is an increasingly important destination for multi-regional clinical trials (MRCTs) as drug development and testing are globalized.  However, in order to attract the investment of these clinical trials, it is critical for the APEC region to achieve regulatory convergence on medical product regulatory approval procedures and regulatory science human resource capacity. The Roadmap to Promote Multi-Regional Clinical Trials (MRCT), led by Japan, is highly advanced and has entered the implementation phase. This phase requires focused training in regulatory sciences. The Roadmap’s goal is to facilitate multi-regional clinical trials (MRCT) and the acceptance of these clinical trial results for review by regulatory authorities. The LSIF Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (MRCT) met in Jakarta in February 2013, and agreed to explore the establishment of an APEC MRCT Regulatory Science Center of Excellence Pilot. This project further develops and tests the concept, regulatory science training methods and financial support for such a pilot center.

Workshop on Investment in the Blood and Blood Products Supply Chain to Promote Sustainable APEC Healthcare Systems 

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted the increased movement across boundaries of blood products and blood safety-related in vitro diagnostics devices, together with their rapid development and introduction into health-care systems of both developed and developing economies. Across the APEC region, wide disparities in the level of access to safe blood exist. This 2-day workshop supports APEC economies’ efforts to close remaining gaps in promoting sustainable healthcare systems by improving their capacity to collect, test, and distribute safe blood and blood products. The project’s key objectives include: building the capacity of APEC economies in their blood services, infrastructure, and governance and promoting more harmonized standards for blood and blood products; and examining the role of blood safety in preventing the spread of HIV, Hepatitis, other infectious and potentially pandemic diseases as well as promoting regulatory cooperation and best practices on blood and blood products.



An APEC Life Sciences Strategic Plan was approved by APEC Ministers in 2004 and it includes recommendations for collective action and an implementation schedule. The Strategic Plan also provides recommendations for strengthening the innovative life sciences sector in the APEC region, placing particular emphasis on boosting region-wide levels of investment in research and development for health innovation.

In 2007, the LSIF was tasked to undertake a multidisciplinary study on the role of investment in health innovations that address health and related economic and fiscal challenges facing the region, and the return on investment for economies. It was also mandated to establish frameworks for public-private sector partnerships to better utilise resources to meet health needs.

The LSIF has developed an Enablers of Investment Checklist, a voluntary guidance tool for policy makers in each APEC economy to assess their investment environment for life sciences innovation. Singapore volunteered to fill out the implementation of the Checklist in 2009.

The LSIF has developed an Anti-counterfeit Medical Product Action Plan. The objective is to share best practices in the detection and prevention of counterfeits with both regulatory authorities and industry professionals, and to build capacity at the economy level to combat the threat. A workshop on anti-counterfeit medicines was held in Beijing, China from September 27-28, 2011. A series of regional seminars for government regulators on the issue of harmonisation of medical device regulation were organized by the Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (RHSC) since 2008. The objective was to help regulators of medical devices in APEC economies develop robust regulatory systems. The seminars highlighted the benefits to patients, regulators and industry and to global and regional trade when economies implement a medical device regulatory system based on harmonised standards and procedures. Industry representatives were invited to participate. The training programs were closely coordinated with the medical devices Global Harmonisation Task Force and two regional working parties: The Asian Harmonisation Working Party and the Latin American Harmonisation Working Party.

RHSC continues to break new ground in developing innovative approaches to address regulatory priorities and to serve as a global catalyst for change. Significant progress has been made toward promoting regulatory convergence in the medical products sector by 2020, in partnership with key international bodies and initiatives, and according to the strategic framework and roadmap.

The APEC Harmonization Center (AHC) was launched in Seoul, Korea in June 2009. The AHC is an important step towards harmonising regional regulatory priorities. An LSIF Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee (RHSC) has also been created to advance the harmonisation agenda. The AHC has since organised a series of events, including an "APEC Harmonization Center Biosimilar Workshop" in 2009. The workshop was focused on the opportunities and challenges of biological medicines, regulatory issues for biosimilars and the regulatory landscape for biosimilars. A follow up workshop on Biosimilars was held in April 2012.


Maureen Goodenow (Ms)

Senior Science Advisor and Jefferson Science Fellow
Department of State, United States
Professor and Stephany W. Holloway Endowed Chair for HIV/AIDS Research
College of Medicine, University of Florida
David Wu (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat