Australian Office

Tom Lin

This week, ‘ 40Years, 40Stories’ brings you Tom Lin, founder of Lin Bioscience and mastermind behind Belite Bio, one of biotech’s best performing IPOs. Tom shares how his company and his personal stories are great examples where Australia and Taiwan drew on each other’s strengths to produce not only a successful outcome, but also one that can cure rare diseases. This is his story:


I trained as a scientist in Australia with world-leading medical experts. Then, in 2016, I sold my apartment in Sydney and established Lin Bioscience in Taiwan. We listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange in 2018 and raised further funding to develop a first-in-class novel drug to treat Stargardt disease – a rare genetic eye disease that causes blindness and is currently untreatable. Lin Bioscience’s subsidiary, Belite Bio, then conducted first-in-human clinical trials and the world’s first ever treatment study in children in a Phase 1 and Phase 2 study in Australia.

Since listing on the NASDAQ in April 2022, Belite Bio’s share price has soared over 600 per cent, reaching a market capitalisation of over USD 1 billion in less than three months, making it one of the top performing NASDAQ-listed companies. Belite Bio is one of few, if not the only, biotech companies founded by an Australian to reach this landmark as a billion US dollar startup company.

Australia is at the forefront of medical science and clinical research (especially early stage scientific and clinical research) and is among very few countries in the world with the core capabilities to generate scientific breakthroughs in biomedicine. Australia also has probably the best medical system in the world, known for its quality of care, advanced medical knowledge and very well-trained scientists, who are able to perform truly innovative research with integrity.

But most importantly, Australia has the most efficient regulatory review system in the world, and is known for its deep knowledge and appreciation for cutting-edge ‘first-in-class’ novel therapies and ‘first-in-human’ studies. It can take as little as five weeks to start these clinical trials in Australia; it normally takes from five months to more than a year in other countries. And it is often the speed and efficiency of these first-in-human or phase 1 studies that make or break an early-stage biotech company.

In my opinion, Taiwan is quite innovative when it comes to financial and capital markets, but lags somewhat on medical innovation and research. Australia is totally the opposite, it is quite innovative and advanced when it comes to medical science and clinical research, but not as developed when it comes to early stage investment and thriving capital markets for biotech.

I think the Lin Bioscience and Belite Bio story are shining examples of how Australia and Taiwan can draw on each other’s strengths to produce successful outcomes that benefit the world. In my example, this meant utilising my education and training from Australia, and bridging that core expertise and skillset with Taiwan’s capital markets for startup companies, and then eventually leaping onto the global stage by listing on the NASDAQ.