CKGSB Knowledge - China Business and Economy

BIOPHARMA BOOM

China’s biopharmaceutical market is bigger and more innovative than ever before. Will Chinese biopharma soon be able to rival the likes of American and European industry leaders?

Seaweed pairs well with sushi, but using marine algae to treat Alzheimer’s disease? It turns out the ubiquitous marine organism and the degenerative brain condition seem to actually be an even better match than the well-known culinary one.

Green Valley Pharmaceuticals, a small firm based in Shanghai, drew global attention last November by announcing that its seaweed-based drug for treating Alzheimer’s had won conditional approval from China’s drug regulator, making it the first Alzheimer’s drug to have received such approval globally since 2003. The commercial production and launch of the drug were set in motion at the end of 2019. Later the same month, Beijing-based BeiGene announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its revolutionary blood cancer drug, offering a Chinese cancer therapy to American patients for the first time.

The announcements highlighted the progress that China’s promising biopharma industry is making, with a growing legion of firms hoping to take on the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. But they

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