Asian bioclusters ranked with China at the top spot

Top bio clusters

Eight Asian nations rushing to build the infrastructure that will bring in biotechs both large and small have been ranked by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) in its annual effort using 5 number-based criteria.

Of course the ingredients that go into the major life science hubs in Boston or Silicon Valley in the U.S. can be tallied as well--but other intangible ingredients from the quality of nearby universities and lifestyle to capital access are often ranked as the most critical factors.

But using the GEN criteria--public R&D spending, patents, IPOs, number of companies and jobs--China hits 4 out 5, placing it easily in the top spot.

"Keeping China on top in R&D is among priorities of the new 13th Five-Year Plan that took effect this year," the scientific news site said.

"It encourages biopharma to expand development programs in 'order to strengthen the prevention and cure of infectious, chronic, and endemic diseases,' and sets the stage for a new competitive grant program to fund stem cell and translational research. The world’s most populous nation is also the leader in IPOs ($1.936 billion raised by 14 companies), as well in number of companies (7,500, of which at least 5,000 are pharmaceuticals), and jobs."

Japan held second place as leading drug companies expand research pacts with universities and national laboratories, GEN said, though new companies clearly lag behind the pace in China.

In something of a surprise, India pipped heavy state spenders such as South Korea and Singapore with startups that once sought easier regulatory and business conditions now staying home.

Rounding out the remaining 5 spots in order were South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.

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