Shanghai upholds environment favorable for biomedicine innovation

Ding Yining
New prospects and opportunities emerge for local innovations to go global.
Ding Yining
SSI ļʱ

As Shanghai keeps up a strong momentum in bio-medicine innovation, new prospects and opportunities emerge for local innovations to go global as academic and business exchanges return to normal, experts told a forum over the weekend.

City officials, top medical research experts and investors point to a favorable environment for original innovation in China.

They are calling for better integration to allow technology transfer from research institutions to startup businesses during the First Pujiang Biopharmaceutical Original Innovation Forum. Organized by the China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association, it highlighted the imperative of an integrated approach for original innovation.

"We'll continue to encourage research institutions and enterprises to capture the latest cutting-edge technologies and to set up world-class incubation platforms as well as a better innovation ecosystem," said Shou Ziqi, chairman of the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce. Shou is also vice chairman of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

In the first eight months, Shanghai received 133 clinical research licenses for first-in-class new drugs, among which 20 licenses for gene and cell therapies. This leads other regions in the country.

President of Zhongshan Hospital, Fan Jia, noted that only by targeting real clinical demands can China have its own home-grown new technology and product, and therefore truly breakthrough therapies could originate from the very first mile of new ideas.

Tenure professor at Ruijin Hospital and president of the Red Cross Society of China, Chen Zhu, added: "China is quickly closing the gap with global bio-medicine industry and now it's the crucial period to beef up high quality development after the successful 'zero to one' phase."

Shanghai upholds environment favorable for biomedicine innovation
Ti Gong

The First Pujiang Biopharmaceutical Original Innovation Forum

With his return to Shanghai after four years of absence, Pontifax Venture Capital Co-Founder and CEO Tomer Kariv said he was amazed by the level of growth and advancement in technology and medical research.

"China has become a source of innovation over the last two to three years and is gaining international recognition for the first time," Kariv said. "We've witnessed that US and European companies are seeking new technologies here, not the other way around.

"The level of medical technology innovation from Chinese startups seem much quicker, more efficient, very possibly better compared with overseas counterparts, while challenge still remains in how to take local innovations to the global market."

Just as multinationals seek joint venture partners when they set up businesses in China, local innovative startups also need to find suitable partners with proper know-how in other parts of the world, he explained.

Zhu Tongyu, vice president of Shanghai Medical College at Fudan University, said that a regular matchmaking mechanism has been set up for cross disciplinary academic exchange at the university. This also allows external investors to capture cutting-edge trends and research results.

It's also crucial to link different kinds of new discoveries with suitable investment institutions to seek an integrated approach for innovation incubation, he pointed out.

SSI ļʱ

Special Reports