Manufacturing News

IQVIA Biotech bullish on China's biopharma sector

US-based IQVIA Biotech, a global provider of advanced analytics and clinical research services, plans to continue to invest in China's biopharmaceutical industry, said a senior executive.

Liu Qun, head of IQVIA Biotech China, said: "China is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing healthcare markets in the world. Biopharmaceutical research and development has been booming globally in recent years, and the number of clinical trials is increasing year by year, among which oncology clinical trials account for the largest proportion.

"In terms of R&D in oncology, almost 80 percent of the early stage pipeline and two-thirds of the late-stage pipeline are controlled by emerging biopharmaceutical companies."

She added that now, the world is witnessing China's biopharmaceutical industry booming and maturing. Investors continue to recognize the potential of China's emerging biopharma sector.

"China is one of the preferred destinations for clinical trials due to potentially large patient populations, high efficiency and high quality," Liu said.

According to a report from IQVIA, in 2019, there were 110 investment deals regarding emerging biopharmaceutical companies, with an average value of 428 million yuan ($66 million).

Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based Qianzhan Industry Research Institute estimated that the country's biopharma industry will maintain a growth rate of between 10 percent and 15 percent between 2020 and 2025, and surpass 500 billion yuan by 2025.

Zhu Jianwei, dean of the School of Medicine at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said that in recent years, with increasing recognition from the international community and the enhancement of the country's policy support, China's biopharmaceutical market has been growing rapidly, with the compound annual growth rate of the sector higher than that of China's overall pharma industry, and there have been many breakthroughs in the sector.

Meanwhile, driven by factors including technological innovation and rising public healthcare awareness, sales revenue of the sector increased rapidly. Data from Guangzhou, Guangdong province-based pharmaceutical data platform Menet showed that in 2020, sales revenue of biopharmaceuticals related to China's public healthcare institutions grew 12.6 percent year-on-year to nearly 150 billion yuan. Sales of biopharmaceuticals took up 11.8 percent of total drug sales to public hospitals, up 2.6 percentage points over 2019.

On May 25, IQVIA announced its expansion into Japan and the Asia Pacific-a tailored approach to delivering integrated clinical and commercial solutions for biotech and emerging biopharma companies.

"Biotech companies are fueling rapid development of biologics, drugs and vaccines, and when they succeed, we all succeed," said Richard Staub, president of research and development solutions at IQVIA.

"By launching IQVIA Biotech in JAPAC, we can support the aspirations of biotech customers with agile solutions and resources dedicated to supporting smaller companies," Staub said.

According to IQVIA, the JAPAC region is an increasingly critical location for clinical trials. Clinical trial sites set up by biotech and biopharma companies in JAPAC have increased by over 40 percent each year on average, compared to just 11 percent across the rest of the world.

"There are a lot of biotech companies coming in to JAPAC to run their clinical programs and wanting to launch their drugs in Asia given the attractive market dynamics in the region. Given the rise of Asia, as well as the globalization of drug development-especially around emerging biopharma-it was a good time to consolidate the organization and launch IQVIA Biotech JAPAC," Liu said.

She also acknowledged China's biopharmaceutical policy environment. "The policy environment is improving, which is favorable for innovative drug R&D and launches."

With the new Drug Registration Regulation taking effect on July 1,2020, four Accelerated Approval Channels have been established to expedite approvals of certain drug types.

"The government encourages innovation and shows great willingness to pay for innovative drugs. Amid the strong support from national policy, the biopharmaceutical industry will be one of the most active economic sectors in China, which reinforces our confidence in the market," Liu said.

In October, the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress revised China's Patent Law. The revised version, which took effect on June 1, first mentioned offering innovative drug subsidies during drug patent protection periods so as to encourage domestic biopharmaceutical companies to invest more in R&D and make innovations.

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