Healthy workers and societies contribute to a healthy regional economy. Through the newly formed, Life Sciences Innovation Forum, APEC is encouraging innovation at all stages of the life sciences value chain, from research and development into new treatments and cures, manufacturing and marketing drugs and treatments through to delivering top quality health services.
Life sciences innovation is currently a trillion-dollar industry with massive potential for expansion. It is an emerging driver of economic growth and prosperity which will contribute significantly to the health and well being of the people of the Asia-Pacific region. Regional investment in this sector will deliver substantial economic and social returns and APEC is perfectly positioned to take a leadership role, utilising the diversity of the region and creative potential of its people.
APEC is taking a strategic approach to life sciences innovation and conducted its first high-level Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) in August 2003. The meeting involved leading representatives from government, industry, and academia, examining the critical aspects of a viable life sciences sector.
The LSIF identified the following four main segments of the life sciences innovation value chain:
  • Research and Development
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Provision and Delivery of Health Services
The LSIF found that companies which invest in life sciences research and development have the potential for substantial returns on investment and that the APEC region could lead the world in this vital sector. The LSIF also concluded that commitment to life sciences innovation will improve the region's capability to monitor and halt the spread of diseases, provide the highest quality care to patients and effectively treat diseases, including chronic diseases and epidemics such as HIV/AIDS.
The LSIF determined key themes to incorporate into a Strategic Plan for Life Sciences Innovation. A number of immediate outcomes from the discussion of the Strategic Plan were identified, including:
  • Agreement in principle to harmonise standards for life sciences products and services according to international best practices
  • Undertaking an assessment of the strength of each APEC Member Economy to identify those areas in which contributions to life sciences innovation may be established quickly and effectively.
  • The strategic plan will be finalised by the time of the APEC Leaders Summit in 2004 and expert groups will work intersessionally to develop a road map encompassing best practices for each of the four main segments of the life sciences innovation value chain.

    Additional topics discussed at the LSIF include:

  • The Importance of Life Sciences Innovation to APEC
  • The Role of Research in Driving Innovation: Creating a Positive Environment for Research in Life Sciences
  • Drivers for Innovation - The Role of Government, Industry and Academia
  • The Role of Regulation and the Regulator in Supporting Innovation in Life Sciences
  • The Role of Government in Fostering Innovation
  • Clinical Trials: Patients, Academia and Industry in Partnership
  • Harmonizing Regulations
  • Fostering a Positive Climate for Investment in Manufacturing
  • Good Manufacturing Practices: The 'ISO' for Life Sciences
  • How Life Science Innovations can help Foster Better, Faster and More Sustainable
  • Healthcare
  • Healthcare Accreditation: Ensuring the Patient a Quality Experience
The LSIF will also develop recommendations for economic and technical cooperation, including capacity building, and explore avenues to promote public-private sector collaboration in life sciences innovation.