"In the future construction of the health systems, we should focus on three aspects: first, the development of rapid, large-scale and low-cost testing capabilities; second, the easy access to vaccination; third, medical institutions must be well-equipped to quickly respond to infectious diseases such as COVID-19."
On 24 November, the inaugural Asia Summit on Global Health (ASGH) co-organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) opened today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in a hybrid format, offering both online and in-person participation. Chen Qiyu, Co-CEO of Fosun International who was one of the speakers at the panel discussion under the plenary session themed "Shaping a Resilient and Sustainable Future", shared his view on the short-term and long-term development of healthcare industry in the post-pandemic world and how Fosun is helping to create a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive future.
Co-operate and Embrace Changes
Themed "Shaping a Resilient and Sustainable Future", the summit aims to bring together medical and health professionals and business leaders from all over the world, promoting medical innovations, investment exchanges and investment cooperation. More than 70 speakers, including senior government health officials from around the world, representatives of international organisations, medical research experts as well as investors and business leaders, shared their insights from the perspectives of healthcare, finance and technology, and examined the latest technological developments and investment opportunities in the healthcare sector.
Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC delivered a welcome speech and Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR gave an opening speech to kick off the summit. Carrie Lam said that the Government of the HKSAR has invested more than HK$130 billion over the past four years to promote the innovation and technology industry. It has established InnoHK innovative Hong Kong R&D platform in the Hong Kong Science Park, while the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park the Lok Ma Chau Loop in cooperation with Shenzhen will be completed in 2024, with the primary goal of developing healthcare technologies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to structural changes in the healthcare industry, rapid innovation and adaptation are much needed, including the application of digital platforms, research and development of new drugs, and unprecedented public-private partnerships to build more resilient health systems. In this battle against the COVID-19, concerted efforts by the Government and enterprises have resulted in innovative breakthroughs in the development, clinical trial, approval, and marketing of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic drugs.
When speaking about the global cooperation during the pandemic, Chen Qiyu said that, Fosun has reached an mRNA vaccine cooperation with Germany's BioNTech at the beginning of the pandemic. "It was very early at that time, and we didn't know whether the vaccine would be put into use. Based on the SARS experience, the pandemic ended before the vaccine research and development was completed. However, we still firmly believed that we should explore the most advanced field in the world. Later on, we were very pleased to learn that this vaccine is being developed and marketed rapidly worldwide."
Innovation to Shape the Future
The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 has highlighted the need for joint efforts to promote technological innovation in the global healthcare industry, so as to shape a resilient and sustainable future. In addition, the ever-changing demographic profile in Asia is driving market's demand for healthcare technologies and solutions, thus creating immense investment opportunities for the healthcare industry.
Chen Qiyu pointed out that Fosun's rapid establishment of the vaccine cooperation at the beginning of the pandemic was made possible thanks to Fosun's persistent investment and cooperation in world's leading pharmaceutical technology and accumulation of experience in globalization over the past ten years.
Over the years, Fosun has always adhered to the globalization strategy, gradually enhancing its competitiveness in the world: Fosun Pharma began to establish a pharmaceutical innovation and research team in the U.S. 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.
In the future, Fosun will continue to create innovative blockbuster products in the field of health, exert greater efforts in areas such as innovative R&D, BD, production and operation, and commercialization. On the one hand, it will put forward development plan in cutting-edge areas and innovate blockbuster products through diversified models such as cooperative development, license introduction, and investment. On the other hand, it will also focus on maximizing product value by strengthening overseas market sales and foreign licensing in overseas markets.
Chen Qiyu pointed out that human societies are entering an era of healthcare technology boom, the R&D process of small molecule drugs, large molecule drugs, antibody drugs, cell drugs, and mRNA technology is accelerating. "As the precision of future treatments is getting higher, there will be more opportunities for product R&D. For instance, there will be huge breakthroughs and developments in the field of oncology based on the integration of current technologies such as small molecule drugs, antibody drugs, cell therapy, and genes. This is also what Fosun must do: develop an innovation platform that encompass the entire chain from diagnosis to technologies, such as small molecules, large molecules, cells, nucleic acids, etc."
Regarding the construction of the health systems in the post-epidemic era, Chen Qiyu said that we should focus on three aspects: first, the development of rapid, large-scale and low-cost testing capabilities; second, the easy access to vaccination; third, medical institutions must be well-equipped to quickly respond to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
"Facing the future, we need to introduce reforms in two areas. First, the reform of medical technology and continuous innovation; second, the reform of healthcare processes and systems, we need to integrate new technologies, digital technology, mobile medical equipment, and personal information management, etc." Chen Qiyu said, "Fosun hopes to leverage on the current achievements of technological innovation to tackle more health problems, letting more people live past 90 years old, 100 years old and even 121 years old."