China's biopharma boom at tipping point for growth, WuXi's Li says


Explosive growth for China's biopharma industry spurred by the return of talent after high-profile stints at companies and universities in the U.S. will accelerate in the coming two decades, the chief of the country's top CRO tells Bloomberg.

A rush by so-called Sea Turtles--as the returnees are dubbed--to biotech centers in Shanghai spurred by tax and funding incentives from the Chinese government has been in play for several years with both informal networks and formal ones such as Silicon Valley-based Bay Helix, said WuXi AppTec CEO Ge Li, who delisted the firm from the U.S. last year in a management-led buyout for $3.3 billion.

“We’re at a tipping point in China,” Li told Bloomberg. “I personally believe that we have another 10 to 20 years of good growth ahead.”


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The combination of returnees and local talent is a key driver as noted by Shanghai-based ZAI Lab CEO and founder Samantha Du, which earlier this year raised a bit more than $100 million in a Series B round, led by Advantech Capital, and including OrbiMed to develop in-licensed candidates. The firm is also working with Beijing-based Tsinghua University in setting up a dedicated R&D center for novel development.

Citing figures from consultancy ChinaBio, Bloomberg said investment in China’s life sciences sector exceeded $30 billion in 2015, a jump of 70%.

- here's the story from Bloomberg

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