Sector News

How China is transforming the biotech industry: Brainstorm Health

October 8, 2019
Life sciences

Fortune sat down with Brad Loncar, a biotech investor who specializes in cancer immunotherapy, at our offices last week. Loncar runs both a U.S.-based index fund for cancer drug companies and, more recently, launched another one focused on China.

It was a fascinating conversation that covered everything from the U.S. oncology field to the shifting global dynamics of cancer drug development.

It would be difficult to capture the entire conversation in a single missive. But I want to highlight one particularly interesting part—the evolving nature of China’s biotech industry, especially when it comes to the “biologic” drugs which have become a hotbed of cancer therapy innovation.

“The Chinese FDA is trying to replicate the U.S. FDA,” Loncar tells Fortune, noting that about half of the biggest, global biopharma IPOs last year occurred in China.

This presents a major shift for China. Brand name biologic drugs (the kind that are derived from biological, rather than chemical, material and are therefore much more difficult to produce) make up nearly 80% of the top-sellers in the U.S.; China, traditionally, has been much more focused on the generic market.

That’s changing. “They want to go from becoming just a manufacturer to a true innovator,” says Loncar.

The Chinese government is trying to make that happen through a series of policy shifts, including more stringent drug development standards in line with other nations (including the U.S.), new trade policies, and revamped stock market rules meant to fuel funds to early-stage drug companies.

Just how effective could these efforts prove? WuXi Biologics, a Chinese company whose technology platforms help produce a staggering 12% of the world’s biologic drugs, is aggressively expanding into American and European markets.

And here’s the kicker: Chinese companies could very well undercut American firms on pricing if their products pass muster and reach the U.S. market. If that’s really the wave of the future, U.S. drug makers are on notice.

By Sy Mukherjee

Source: Fortune

Related News

May 8, 2021

BD to spin off $1B diabetes care business into standalone public company

Life sciences

BD’s new company will have the freedom to expand its portfolio of tools and technologies for the chronic care of diabetes.

May 8, 2021

Galapagos cuts pipeline, targets €150M in savings after setbacks

Life sciences

The Belgian biotech is pulling out of metabolic diseases and osteoarthritis R&D to focus on its core therapeutic areas.

May 8, 2021

Catalent snares yet another Belgian CDMO to boost fast-growing cell and gene therapy campus

Life sciences

Catalent will use its new facility for commercial production of plasmid DNA, used to make a range of biologics, including viral vectors, mRNA and cell therapies.

Send this to a friend