Launch of the China Biotech Special Interest Group
After a resounding vote in favour of the BIA exploring opportunities for biotech with regards to Chinese collaboration and investment at the CEO & Investor Forum last year, we have joined forces with the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to set up a China Biotech Special Interest Group (SIG). The group will provide a discussion platform for BIA and CBBC members, with the overall objective to increase the number of UK life science companies collaborating with, generating revenue from, and receiving investment from the Chinese market.
Last week saw the launch event for the SIG. We had an excellent turn out at the CBBC offices in Victoria, with people coming to hear BIA members talk about their different experiences in China. We kicked off with Andy Richards, Chairman at Congenica, giving us an introduction to the political and economic factors making China a viable opportunity. He informed us that China is the second largest pharma market after the US, and the fastest growing in the world. It is set to overtake the US by 2030 if it carries on as it is. The regulatory system is moving and realigning with the rest of the world, which is why now is the time to engage with Chinese companies and investors.
This was followed by four BIA member case studies, showcasing their experiences in China. Oxford Nanopore shared their experiences and challenges selling their product in China, and Innovate UK gave us an overview of their grant competitions which encourage collaboration with Chinese life science companies. Having won one of these competitions, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult informed us how they formed a collaboration and updated us on its successful progression. This was followed by Kymab explaining the challenges and opportunities they have experienced gaining investment from a Chinese fund, and the benefits it has brought them. The session was summed up by Martin Dewhurst, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, providing an overview of the current and future biopharma opportunities in China, the rapid speed with which decisions are made, and why UK companies should be turning their attention East before they miss the boat.
Four main areas of interest were highlighted during the discussion; investment, high level deals, market access challenges and operational challenges. This was extremely valuable in conveying a deeper understanding of the science, regulatory and commercial environment in China.
The China SIG will engage and take guidance from its members in several ways. Including several face-to-face meetings each year, monthly mailings with key relevant sector information and a central website for members to access sector events, news relating to China, and missions of interest.
The main aim of the group is for its members to share knowledge and experiences. We welcome members who have either already been engaged in business or have a strong interest in expanding their business with China and are able to provide input at meetings for the overall benefit of the group.
If you are interested in joining, please email Alex Whicher, BIA Event Producer, at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief summary outlining why you are interested in joining the SIG.