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

nd ensure that these products reach their intended markets, says Dr. Frew.

The return of the sea turtles

The report notes a strong focus on encouraging the return of Chinese scientists and entrepreneurs who left the country to study or train abroad the so-called sea turtles who return with scientific talent and international credibility.

While the sea turtle phenomenon is beneficial, the countrys industry might be better served if Chinese residents in the West built transnational companies with a footprint in both China and the West, says co-author Stephen M. Sammut of Burrill & Company, San Francisco.

While this practice is already common, regulations and taxation policies to encourage this approach would address many of the concerns of private and public capital, assure prospective alliance partners, and add depth to the pool of experienced managers. Such an approach would also promote China as a co-development partner rather than a purely low-cost venue to international companies to contract services.

Population a major driving force

Chinas 1.3 billion inhabitants (20% of the worlds population) create a significant demand for low-cost products with the result that biogenerics accounted for more than 90% of the $3 billion biopharmaceutical market last year. For some companies, generic products represent a low-risk entry point into the industry.

The same is true for diagnostics. Chinese companies like Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise and Shanghai Huaguan Biochip Co., Ltd. play an important role in keeping local consumer prices down. Wantai has developed and marketed a large range of blood screening tests for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases and rotavirus. Huaguan earns most of its revenue exporting its range of fertility tests and formulations for HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C and STDs to other Asian, African and South American countri
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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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