Shanghai continues to invest in pharmaceutical industry and technology
Thanks to the sixth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee that concluded last week, a number of key industries in Shanghai are expected to receive a further boost, and the biopharmaceutical industry is among them.
A city government meeting hosted by Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng on Monday called for the promotion of Shanghai's biopharma industry cluster and the drafting of new supportive measures to expedite the industry's development.
It seeks more synergy in basic research and development, clinical development, manufacturing and commercial product rollouts.
It also gives special attention to the transformation of research into commercial products.
Shanghai's three-year action plan aims to increase the city's annual industrial output of biopharmaceutical sectorto 180 billion yuan (US$28.3 billion) and market size to 800 billion yuan with annual double-digit growth in the next several years.
Last year, Shanghai's biopharmaceutical industry was valued at 600 billion yuan with a gross industrial output of 140 billion yuan.
A total of 18 of the top 20 global pharma giants and 17 out of the top 20 medical device companies have established their businesses in the city.
By 2025, the life science industries in Shanghai are expected to have a market size of 1.2 trillion yuan and a manufacturing output of 280 billion yuan.
The upbeat market sentiment has proved to be appealing to overseas players looking to deepen their local operations in China.
AstraZeneca is among 15 leading biopharma companies and investment institutions, which also include Shanghai Pharma, Fosun Pharma and J.P. Morgan. They are to comprise the first batch of world-class biopharma industry cluster partners of Shanghai as the city strives to become an international industry hub.
"We've seen China's favorable attitude toward homegrown innovation, and we plan to fully leverage opportunities where domestic and overseas counterparts come together," commented Leon Wang, executive vice-president and international and China president of AstraZeneca.
"We have been optimizing our ecosystem in the country in terms of health-care products, services and solutions, and we've received a very active response from the city and county-level government to collaborate to push forward innovation in all aspects," Wang commented.
In October, AstraZeneca unveiled in Shanghai its upgraded Global R&D China Center, Shanghai International Life Science Innovation Campus, and Medical Healthcare AI Innovation Center, the latest milestone in AstraZeneca's expanding footprint in the country.
Startup hotspots and collaboration platforms have also taken shape in the city.
US DNA sequencing company Illumina has partnered with Sequoia Capital China and is launching its genomics accelerator in the Shanghai International Medical Park at Zhangjiang Science City with the first batch of startups soon to start operation at the site.
It offers selected startups with access to Illumina's sequencing systems, reagents, genomics expertise and lab space in Shanghai to expedite breakthrough applications in gene sequencing.
Responding to President Xi's keynote speech at the China International Import Expo earlier this month, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals China Vivian Bian said this year marks the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan and an important moment for China to achieve full economic recovery.
"We are fully confident about the future of the China market and will continue to create massive cooperation opportunities from China. We will continue to leverage the strong residual effects of the CIIE and continue to work with the government and all partners to bring forward more innovative products and solutions to benefit Chinese patients as early as possible," Bian said.
The company said it strives to build an open, cooperative, and innovative local health-care environment and safeguard human health for the future.
The biopharmaceutical sector is one of Shanghai's three frontier industries, apart from integrated circuits and artificial intelligence.
In the first half of this year, the market size of the biopharmaceutical industry in Shanghai jumped 22.8 percent to 350 billion yuan, according to Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization Director Wu Jincheng.
Various measures have been put in place to support the clinical and commercial production of biotherapeutics and to hasten the transformation from lab research results into new treatments.
The city vows full support for research, clinical trials, manufacturing, and commercial application, and also looks to foster several flagship products with annual sales of over 5 billion yuan.
Shanghai also seeks to enhance its "soft power" and industry services, prioritize research transformation channels, and further unleash growth opportunities in the sector.
Six major biomedical industrial parks in the city have tailor-made research and production facilities so startups can save initial investments in building and manufacturing equipment.