There are many start-up firms based in ‘biotech parks’ across the Yangtze River Delta that are working to develop effective drugs to treat biggest emerging diseases in China. The list of diseases includes but is not limited to diabetes, hepatitis B, respiratory illness and cancer. China hopes depend on firms like Innovent Biologics and Hua Medicine for competitive biomedical innovation.
The start of the problem
At a time, when China wants to create its mark in the biotech industry, it lacks talent who can support its growth initiatives. China has talent but it is still of no use to the nation. In the late 1970s and 1980s, only elite students used to get entry into molecular biology and biochemistry programs. As a result, the students used to leave China and graduated from other places. After completion of studies, they made their career with the world’s top pharmaceutical companies.
Now, China wants them to come back home. However, it is a failed attempt as no one wants to return to a confined and politicized scientific establishment where acquiring research capital and promotion depends on connections. It is no secret that to acquire grants in China, doing good research is not as important as having connections with powerful bureaucrats. Even if people want to do research, there are traditional boundaries and old practices. It is only private segment that fascinates people to start new ventures.
China has committed over $300 billion to research in science and technology. Biotech is one of the seven key industries highlighted in the latest Five-Year Plan. The investment in biomedical research surged more than four times in 2007-2012. However, it is still dwarfed by the investment done in the Europe and U.S. Those companies who have returned back to China have listed in London and New York and work closely with big Pharma names to attract investment.