China: The Next “Pharmerging” Economy? More than Just Generics: International Partnerships Make China the Biologics Hotspot

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Big Pharma has set its sights on china: Managers of major pharma players expect boom on Chinese biologics sector, as government pushes the branch to the forefront. Will the country be on-par with western companies within five years?

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A remarkable 85% of international pharmaceutical companies believe that China is set to have the fastest growing biologics sector over the next decade, whilst 65% predict patented new chemical entities (NCEs) will be discovered and developed within the country in as little as 5 years’ time, a new CPHI study shows. The driving force behind these findings is the growing biotechnology and R&D industry, which is heavily supported by the Chinese Government.

As a result, Big Pharma and generic manufacturers are increasingly attempting to gain access to the Chinese market, with 74% of international companies looking to ‘increase or initiate partnership with local companies’. This remains a key trend as both international and Chinese companies are seeing natural synergies – Chinese companies benefit from increasing their knowledge of advanced technologies and international companies benefit from market access with a partner familiar with its complexities.

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These arrangements and strategic alliances will proliferate over the next few years, as 90% of domestic companies are also searching for international partners, and their primary goal is to increase the ‘company’s knowledge and development base’.

On Par with Western Competition: The New Five Years Plan for Pharma

Interestingly, over half of the domestic respondents believe ‘the Chinese manufacturing sector will advance their manufacturing capabilities in complex formulations and biologics to levels comparable to those in the West within the next 3-5 years’. Emphasising the shift towards developing higher manufacturing and regulatory standards, over 60% of companies surveyed are already implementing GMP standards, 40% Quality by Design, 40% continuous improvement, and nearly 20% either six-sigma or OPEX.

International companies also share a renewed confidence in the improvement of standards within the Chinese market, with over 50% stating that they believe ‘commercial manufacturing can be competently outsourced within China’.

Moreover, nearly 30% believe both ‘CMO activity’ and ‘clinical drug supply and formulation services’ can be competently undertaken by Chinese companies – most remarkably, 27% believe ‘US and European drug supply’ can also be completed by manufacturers within the country.

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