City leads world with scientific developments

Li Qian
The world's first drug to treat Alzheimer's, the largest photon scientific infrastructure cluster and a state-level laboratory are among scientific breakthroughs in Shanghai.
Li Qian

The first drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the world’s largest photon scientific infrastructure cluster and a comprehensive, state-level laboratory are among scientific breakthroughs made in Shanghai.

Shanghai-developed drug GV-971, set to hit the market this year, is expected to benefit about 400,000 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, said Peng Song, executive deputy director of the office to promote Shanghai's development as a scientific and technological innovation center.

According to the World Alzheimer’s Report 2018, there are globally about 47 million patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder, and currently there is no cure. But GV-971 offers hope.

The drug has been developed by Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company Green Valley, and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ocean University of China.

It has completed phase-3 clinical trials, demonstrating it can significantly improve cognitive impairments of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's.

A cluster of infrastructure facilities being built in Zhangjiang, including an X-ray facility with an investment of more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion), is set to form the world’s largest and most powerful photon scientific infrastructure cluster. It is due to be completed by the end of 2025.

And plans to build the Zhangjiang National Laboratory are well underway.

Integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence have been identified as three key industries to be developed during the process of building Shanghai into a scientific and technological innovation center with global influence.

Over the past five years, Shanghai has made a series of achievements.

China’s first domestically developed narrow-body passenger jet, the C919, first flew from Shanghai. 

The world’s first cloned monkeys, using the technique that produced Dolly the sheep 23 years ago, were born in Shanghai. 

And the city has the world’s most powerful pulse laser. Its energy equals the radiant energy emitted by 10 suns on one single hair, or the energy at the center of a nuclear explosion. 

Local researchers have made important contributions to the country’s great scientific and technological achievements, ranging from the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong to the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

Currently, the city’s research and development input accounts for 4 percent of the total GDP, 0.35 percent up from five years ago. And the equivalent of 10,000 people hold 47.5 patents, nearly double that of five years ago.

Shanghai has also topped a list of the most attractive cities on the Chinese mainland for foreigners for the seventh consecutive year. 

Some 215,000 foreigners have come to the city to start businesses, and nearly 500 foreigners have been granted certificates for high-end foreign talent.

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