Signals of biotech industry boom in China


Innovent Biologics, a leading biopharmaceutical company in China announced a significant $100million C round funding. The funding was led by Chinese venture capitalist (VC) Legend Capital, along with Singapore-based Temasek and two additional well-respected investors. According to the press release by the company, the funding would be dedicated to advance Innovent’s pipeline consisting of eight antibody products, which include one approved IND and three additional filed applications, and the company’s operations.

The success of the raising funds in venture capital could be a signal as to how the Biotech industry is all set to explode in China. A week before Innovent’s fund raising event, the China State Council, its cabinet, decided to shift from government control of investments to a more capitalistic style to draw venture capital investments in healthcare and other industries. The Council approved a plan that would phase  in over the next three years, through 2017.

Premier Li Keqiang ordered that the planned investment fund be market-oriented and efficient. The intent is to draw more investment, including foreign, to support technological innovations such as those offered by biotechs and others in the healthcare market. By shifting from a state-controlled funding to a more capitalist friendly approach, the policy aims to eliminate research duplication and corruption rampant in the current system.

Taking off from this boom, the Chinese Govt. also set up its first high level biosafety laboratory after more than a decade of construction. The lab, based in Wuhan, capital city of central Hubei province, will be used to study class four pathogens (P4), which refers to the most virulent viruses that pose a high risk of aerosol-transmitted person-to-person infections. Launched after the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the lab was jointly built by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Wuhan municipal government. The Wuhan P4 lab enables China to join just a handful of developed countries operating such facilities to help handle the most virulent pathogens.

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