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Five Keys to Making Biotech Flourish in China

June 18, 2012
As China positions itself as a major global player in the international biotechnology arena, it has included biotechnology as one of the seven strategic priorities for scientific and technological development in its 12th Five-year Plan.

During the keynote lunch of the China Day special program at the 2012 BIO International Convention, David W. Beier, senior vice president at Amgen and former chief domestic policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore, outlined the 5 keys to making biotech flourish in China.

1. Investment in Research and Development (R&D)

“The Chinese government has, as part of the 5-year plan, put its stamp of approval on 5 industries: biotechnology… is one of those,” Beier said. “Those 7 industries together are targeted with $600 billion, with a ‘B,’ worth of investment in the 5-year timeframe. A substantial part of the investment is going to be in biology.”

2. Investment in a Science-Based Regulatory Environment

“The Chinese FDA needs to have its standards as harmonized as possible with international standards,” Beier explained. “The decision-making has to be made on sound science and it has to be quite transparent and predictable.”

3. A Visible Intellectual Property System

“China has made steps along that road, especially after being accepted in to the World Trade Organization and its intellectual property standards,” Beier said. “I think it’s not a surprise many Chinese government officials have also said, however, much, much work is necessary…”

4. Will There be a Reward for Innovation?

“Will there be a reward, at the end of the day, for creating a product for a serious unmet medical need?” Beier asked. “Countries across the world have struggled with this. It’s an issue in the United States. It’s an issue in Western Europe and most other countries. I hope the Chinese people expect, from their government, payment for innovation.”

5. Access to Capital

“In an appropriate and typically Chinese way, that access to capital is going to come from a variety of sources,” Beier explained. “I believe there is a profound opportunity for multinational companies… to work with and partner with Chinese colleagues.”