HK-based biopharma firms Innovent, Lee's upbeat on China with biotech buys eyed

Despite China's economic and other ills facing multinational drugmakers doing business in the country, some Hong Kong-based companies plan to step up their mergers and acquisitions on the mainland.

Innovent Biologics Chairman Yu Dechao said China for example is far behind other nations in biopharmaceutical development of antibiotics, so he sees more opportunities for selling more-affordable versions of that type of drug there, according to ejinsight.

Yu noted in China, antibiotics account for only 2% of its biopharmaceutical market, compared with 40% for the rest of the world. Innovent's problem, he suggested to ejinsight, is the "extremely high entry barrier" of the cost of as much as $2 billion to develop a drug in China.

Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings appeared more optimistic, with its CEO citing medical reforms in mainland China, which he expects to provide more opportunities to small biotech and pharmaceutical companies. CEO Li Xiaoyi, who founded the company, told ejinsight that more mergers and acquisitions are in the cards for his company.

Bright Future Pharmaceutical Laboratories has opposite plans. It anticipates staying put in Hong Kong and supplying high-end drugs to the mainland market from home. Managing Director Chan Chak-yeung told the publication that in Hong Kong, competition was fairer and its workforce provides a good talent pool.

- here's the story from ejinsight