On 11 October, the International Biopharma Industry Week Shanghai 2021 (IBIWS 2021) opened at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. Chen Qiyu, Co-CEO of Fosun International and Executive Director of Fosun Pharma, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech as a representative of private enterprises.
Li Qiang, Party Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee attended the opening ceremony. Gong Zheng, Deputy Party Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and Mayor of Shanghai, and Xin Guobin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology delivered speeches, respectively. Jiang Zhuoqing, Director of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress attended the event.
Multiple corporations joined hands to promote the high-quality development of Shanghai's biopharma industry
Gong Zheng said that, the 14th Five-Year Plan is a crucial period to build Shanghai into a world-class biopharma industry cluster. Shanghai warmly welcomes domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to develop, invest and start businesses in Shanghai, helping Shanghai to build a biopharma highland with global influence, jointly promote the high-quality development of Shanghai's biopharma industry, and co-build a brighter future for health.
Under the guidance of the Shanghai Biomedical Industry Development Leading Group, the inaugural IBIWS was co-hosted by Shanghai Biomedical Industry Promotion Center, E Fund Assets Management Co., Ltd., Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co., Ltd., Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd., and Shanghai Zhangjiang Group.
IBIWS 2021 is themed on "Aiming at the Future and Driving Forward the New Biopharma Industry": pooling global forces to jointly build a brighter future for health, helping Shanghai to build a world-class biopharma industry cluster and to turbocharge the biopharma industry in an innovative way. At the opening ceremony, top-level scientists and industry thinkers shared innovation trends and frontier findings as well as indigenous innovations and global applications in their respective fields.
The successful hosting of the IBIWS 2021 will give new impetus to Shanghai and even the wider Yangtze River Delta to optimize their biopharma ecosystems. Capitalizing on the foundation of the city's biopharma industry, the biopharma practitioners of Shanghai will establish a policy support system throughout the whole industry chain featuring "R&D+Clinic+Manufacturing+Application", thereby more effectively leading biopharma integration within the Yangtze River Delta to build a world-class biopharma industry cluster in full swing.
Thoughts on the International Development of Domestic Innovative Pharmaceutical Companies
Chen Qiyu, Co-CEO of Fosun International and Executive Director of Fosun Pharma, in his keynote during the opening ceremony, shared insights and experience about how domestic innovative pharmaceutical companies can go global. He mentioned how Fosun Pharma, as a local pharmaceutical company, capitalized on opportunities and the latest trends to further leverage its leading role in the biopharma industry, while at the same time, steadily developing its internationalization plan, helping Shanghai to build into a globally influential heartland of biopharma innovation. "I hope that Fosun can join hands with Chinese and global peers to improve the biopharma industry for the benefit of all mankind."
Chen Qiyu shared that, Fosun Pharma which was founded in 1994, started going global in 2004 with the acquisition of Guilin Pharma, and it has gradually become a world's leading pharmaceutical company specialized in the research, development and manufacture of antimalarial drugs. Since then, Fosun Pharma's innovative drug Artesun® (artesunate for injection) with independent intellectual property rights has gradually entered the African market, covering more than 30 countries and regions in Africa. Today, this drug has become the golden standard to treat severe malaria and saved more than 40 million lives of severe malaria patients worldwide, most of which are African children under five years old.
Over the years, Fosun Pharma has been building itself incrementally to go global, enhancing the competitiveness of Chinese pharmaceutical companies in the world: Fosun Pharma began to establish a pharmaceutical innovation and research team in the United States in 2009, was listed in Hong Kong in 2012, established its first overseas M&A project, Alma Lasers in 2013, established joint ventures with Intuitive Surgical and Kite Pharma successively in 2016 and 2017, acquired controlling stake in the Indian pharmaceutical company Gland Pharma, and partnered with Germany's BioNTech to develop mRNA-based vaccines in response to the pandemic in 2020, etc.
"We have always stayed committed to going global. Among Fosun Pharma's revenue of over RMB30.3 billion in 2020, RMB8.188 billion stemmed from overseas business." Chen Qiyu believes that there are six key elements in the internationalization strategy of Chinese pharmaceutical companies: the construction of global R&D system, BD system, marketing system, manufacturing supply chain system, talent system, and localized development.
Fosun Pharma continues to implement the above-mentioned multi-faceted international strategies to enhance its global competitiveness: in the construction of the global R&D system, Fosun pharma has established R&D centers for small molecule and macromolecule drugs in the West Coast of the United States, global clinical R&D management centers and R&D center for difficult generic drugs in the East Coast of the United States, medical device R&D in Europe and Israel, generic drug R&D in India, thus, "forming a global synergy and system with China's R&D system."
Fosun Pharma expedites the development of new drugs and the construction of clinical capabilities through a diversified and multi-level cooperation model such as independent research and development, cooperative development, license introduction, and in-depth incubation, connecting with a team of global outstanding scientists, leading technologies and high-value products. As of the end of June 2021, Fosun Pharma has nearly 2,600 R&D personnel, of which about 1,400 possess a master's degree or above; there are a total of 240 pipeline projects on innovative drugs, generic drugs, biosimilar drugs, and generic drug consistency evaluation, among which, 72 of them are innovative drugs.
"The work of BD is also crucial to the internationalization of Chinese companies. As a rapidly emerging market, innovative products are in great demand in China. Thus, we have established joint ventures with some companies in China." Chen Qiyu mentioned, the original aspiration of Fosun Kite, a joint venture established by Fosun Pharma and American Kite Pharma in April 2017, is to industrialize and standardize cancer treatments for the benefit of Chinese patients.
This vision has been realized this year: on 22 June 2021, Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel injection) was approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and became the first CAR-T cell therapy approved in China. "This also demonstrates that the complete cure for cancer is something that the biopharma industry, the scientific community, and the clinical research sector are working together. It is also what all patients hope to achieve, and the direction that Fosun has been working unremittingly on."
In the process of Chinese companies going global, Chen Qiyu believes that it is very important to grasp the characteristics of the global pharmaceutical markets, establish an international commercial marketing team and a global manufacturing system. At present, Fosun Pharma has a sales team of nearly 1,000 talents overseas. It has a mature commercialisation system in Africa, including a registered sales team and a complete distribution network. It has established a generic drug registration and sales system in the United States and a local sales system in India. It also has strategic partners in Europe, Japan, and Latin America. In this process, "the deployment in China, the United States, and India is key. We are building a R&D, manufacturing and supply chain system in China, the United States, and India, so that we can achieve the best results from effective resource allocation globally and form the strongest competitiveness and the safest supply chain system."
In addition, "talents come first in the process of internationalization. We are still constantly consolidating and strengthening the construction of the talent system. On the one hand, we introduce overseas returnees, and on the other hand, our overseas member companies try to employ local talent, developing locally to form a global and international talent system."