Three-year action plan to boost Shanghai's cell therapy released
Shanghai has put cell therapy high on a list of industrial development priorities with the aim of occupying a significant role in the global industrial chain by 2024, a newly-released scheme shows.
A three-year action plan to boost Shanghai's cell therapy and accelerate industrial innovation between 2022 and 2024 has been jointly released by the city's science and technology commission, economy and information commission, and health commission.
By 2024, the city aims to increase its position to the middle-to-high-end in the global industrial chain. At that time, the city's industrial scale will expand to 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) and it will have 20 city-level-and-above cell therapy innovation platforms.
Highlights of a set of measures include that Shanghai will encourage Investigator Initiated Trial (IIT) where a researcher behind a new treatment is granted permission to conduct clinical research, and First-In-Human (FIM) clinical trials on cell therapy where a new treatment already tested in preclinical studies is tried on human for the first time.
It is believed this will greatly shorten the new treatment research and development period.
Also cell therapy drugs that are designed to treat life-threatening and currently incurable diseases but are still under clinical trials can be used on patients after strict medical and ethical reviews.
"Usually, it costs at least three months, sometimes one year, to have a new cell therapy drug obtain approval by the hospital's ethical review," said Gao Hong, an official with Shanghai Health Commission. Therefore, she pointed out, it's underlined in the plan to promote hospitals recognizing ethical reviews of each other.
The plan also put emphasis on policy and financial support to the industry. For example industrial players registered in Shanghai can apply for funding of up to 100 million yuan per year if they discover new cell therapy drugs and obtain a license to sell.
Cell therapy treatments is the trend and Shanghai features one of the most dynamic cell therapy industrial clusters in China for basically forming an industrial chain. This includes from industrial tycoons like Fosun Kite to start-ups like UTC Therapeutics.
In terms of industrial layout, the core development area lies in Pudong's Zhangjiang Cell Industries Park. An industrial demonstration zone is located in Pudong's Waigaoqiao area, a R&D manufacturing base in Pudong's Lingang area and a commercial production site in Jinshan District.
Jiading, Baoshan, Xuhui, Minhang and Fengxian districts are also working together to support the city's cell therapy industry.