Regulatory support from the Chinese government and growing interest from the investment world have contributed to China’s booming biotech industry, which has continuously been luring talent away from multinational drug companies.
In recent years, many former Chinese executives from the likes of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi either jumped to domestic biopharmas or struck out on their own. The drivers behind their decisions: higher salary and more room for growth in an entrepreneurial environment, according to the Financial Times.
China has been relying heavily on generics, and that kind of a market left small room for innovation, leaving only a handful of multinationals as the main sources of innovative drugs in the country. Therefore, when the biotech industry does come alive, it’s only natural that it will turn to these global companies for talent.
“The value proposition of local biotechs is clear: they provide an entrepreneurial environment, there is the possibility of future public listing and exciting opportunities in terms of building a business,” Franck Le Deu, a senior partner at McKinsey in Hong Kong, was quoted by FT.
Xiaobin Wu, Ph.D., formerly Pfizer China’s general manager who recently jumped to BeiGene, told FT that at Chinese biotech startups, “the working dynamic is very different and the decision making is fast.”
In 2017, the Chinese biopharma industry received $11.7 billion in venture capital investment, according to ChinaBio. Those handsome financial injections not only went to R&D activities, but also offer a larger pool for executive pay. According to an executive with recruiting firm Hays interviewed by FT, Chinese startups offered 20% higher base salaries than global pharmas.
Here is a nonexhaustive summary of some recent examples of Chinese MNC-to-biotech shifts:
By Angus Liu
Source: Fierce Pharma
The new company will have four complementary businesses: Perfumery & Beauty, Food & Beverage/Taste & Beyond, Health, Nutrition & Care and Animal Nutrition & Health, each with strong market positions and expertise to address emerging consumer trends. The businesses will also prioritize environmental sustainability, health and well-being.
Merck (MSD) has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Imago BioSciences for a total equity price of nearly $1.35bn. A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm, Imago focuses on the development of new therapies to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and other bone marrow ailments.
Danish pharma Novo Nordisk has announced plans to invest 5.4 billion Danish kroner to expand its existing facilities in Bagsværd. The project will establish extra R&D capacity for manufacturing APIs to supply the company’s global clinical trials for oral and injectable products. The expansion is expected to be finished in 2024, creating about 160 new jobs.