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China's biotech industry: An Asian dragon is growing
Date:1/7/2008

Backed by a government intent on promoting innovation and fuelled by the brain gain of talented scientists and entrepreneurs returning from abroad, Chinas health biotech industry only needs a more favourable investment climate to emerge as a global force in the production of therapies and medicines both new and low-cost generics experts say in a new study.

Long considered a skillful product replicator, China today boasts of daring medical science innovation and stunning breakthroughs including the worlds first commercialized gene therapy product and the sole cholera vaccine tablet. However, Chinese firms face an uphill battle in attracting high-risk venture capital needed to sustain innovative, research-driven projects, says the study published by Nature Biotechnology.

Conducted through face to face interviews with management of 22 Chinese firms, the work is the first study of Chinas most innovative health biotechnology companies available in the public domain.

It says that despite substantial Chinese government funding to promote an innovative industry and entrepreneurs who will commercialize new health biotech products, the intense interest of potential international investors is typically muted by an uncertain financial system, rigid restrictions on the export of capital that limit the options for exiting investments and continuing doubts about the Chinese governments approach to quality control and intellectual property rights.

The Chinese biotechnology industry is like a baby dragon, which will grow quickly and soon become hard to ignore. Its no longer the case that the industrialized world has hegemony over biotechnology innovation, says co-author Peter A. Singer, MD, of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health (University Health Network and University of Toronto).

However, for all its blossoming as an industrial and economic superpower, China still has one foot in the closed society of the
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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