China's financial hub sees biopharmaceuticals ride boom in new medications

2022-02-11 China Daily Editor:Li Yan

The booth of AstraZeneca displays the company's AI-related medical technologies at the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in July. (Photo/CHINA DAILY)

Shanghai is looking to grow its biopharmaceutical market to 1 trillion yuan ($157.3 billion) by the end of 2025, as biopharma remains one of the three backbone industries fueling the city's high-quality growth.

In 2021, such market in Shanghai was valued at over 700 billion yuan, up from 600 billion of the previous year. The industry of manufacturing medicines was worth 171.2 billion yuan, growing 12 percent year-on-year.

Among a list of published goals for the sector's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the city vowed that biopharma-related manufacturing would reach 240 billion yuan and that six industrial parks, each valued at some 10 billion yuan, would be established.

Shanghai is also targeting the launch of 15 Class 1 drugs, which are innovative drugs that contain new chemical elements with clinical value that have not been marketed anywhere else, and 35 medical devices. The city also expects to cultivate an additional 25 publicly listed biopharma companies between 2021 and 2025.

"The biopharmaceutical industry is an important pillar of Shanghai's strategic emerging industries, and a vital starting point for Shanghai to strengthen its leading function of high-end industries and the source of scientific and technological innovation," said Liu Ping, vice-director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization.

To keep the momentum going, Shanghai announced it would host the second edition of the International Biopharma Industry Week from Sept 26-30.

Six companies, including Fosun Pharma and JPMorgan, have been designated by local authorities as strategic partners of the industry week event.

Following the successful inaugural event last year, the industry week is set to bring together global pharmaceutical giants, domestic startups, investment institutions and research entities to discuss the latest industry trends and opportunities for investment and cooperative ventures.

Shanghai is now home to facilities of 18 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 of the top 20 medical equipment companies. They have flocked here to set up their China headquarters, R&D centers or manufacturing bases, according to the municipal commission.

Last year, pharma giant Astra-Zeneca unveiled in Shanghai its upgraded Global R&D China Center, Shanghai International Life Science Innovation Campus and Medical Healthcare AI Innovation Center, the latest milestone in AstraZeneca's expanding footprint in the country.

"We've seen China's favorable attitude toward homegrown innovation, and we plan to fully leverage opportunities where domestic and overseas counterparts come together," said Leon Wang, executive vice-president, international, AstraZeneca.

Shanghai has designated biopharma as one of the three pillar industries for the city's quality growth, with the other two being integrated circuits and artificial intelligence. Zhangjiang Pharma Valley, a hub supporting startups or pioneering projects of established firms, has incubated some 380 biopharma companies and seen over 10 incubated enterprises go public.

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