Biopharmaceuticals seen as key driver for future growth

Updated:2016-11-22By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)

Shanghai's Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is a huge repository of innovative resources helping to advance sector 

As the country accelerates its promotion of the biopharmaceutical industry in a bid to form a new economic growth driver, the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is working to build itself into a national leader for the advancement of this sector. 

The zone in Shanghai comprises 22 industrial parks and 124 sub-parks that are home to different industry clusters, such as new generation information technology, advanced facilities manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, as well as energy and environmental protection. 

It is also a massive repository for innovative resources contributed by the more than 70,000 enterprises that call the zone home. Over 2,670 of these are high-tech enterprises and more than 1,400 are research institutions. 

The biopharmaceutical industry in the zone has kept rising in recent years, becoming a pillar of Shanghai's pharmaceutical industry. According to the demonstration zone, chemical drugs still account for a larger proportion of the pharmaceutical industry in Zhangjiang, but the output value of biotech medicines has increased fast in recent years. In 2015, a total of 58 new drugs were approved to enter into clinical trial stages, including 44 chemical drugs, 10 biopharmaceutical medicines and four types of herbal medicine. 

In 2015, the total sales tax and profit of Zhangjiang's biopharmaceutical industry grew by 16.4 percent and 12.9 percent year-on-year, respectively. 

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the main business income of Shanghai's biopharmaceutical industry accounted for about 2.9 percent of the country's total pharmaceutical industry in 2015. 

Figures from the city's statistics bureau show that the industrial output value of biopharmaceuticals from the Zhangjiang demonstration zone accounted for 66 percent of the city's total last year. 

In 2015, there were 167 major biopharmaceutical enterprises in Zhangjiang demonstration zone, nearly 60 percent of the city's total. Among them, 98 enterprises saw their core revenue exceed 100 million yuan ($14.53 million) and 12 enterprises' revenues exceeded 1 billion yuan. In addition, 16 of Shanghai's top 20 enterprises are from Zhangjiang, with their total industrial output value reaching 31 billion yuan, accounting for 47.5 percent of the demonstration zone's total and 34.3 percent of the city's biopharmaceutical industry's total. 

Following the city's threeyear action plan for development of the biopharmaceutical technology industry, initiated in 2014, the Zhangjiang zone is now actively promoting the construction of seven biopharmaceutical manufacturing bases across the city, in order to form a series of industry clusters. These cover such sub-sectors as modern Chinese medicine, biotech products, chemical drugs and medical equipment. The zone is also looking to build an advanced biomedical manufacturing base. 

Also, Zhangjiang now pays more attention to the development of service outsourcing, with a focus on Shanghai's Xuhui and Pudong districts. In 2014, Zhangjiang was identified as a vital element in Shanghai's planned transformation into a global science and technology innovation hub with significant influence on a global scale. Speeding up the pace of innovation and growth in the biopharmaceuticals industry has become an important part to realize that ambition. 

"Over the past two decades, Zhangjiang has been playing an increasingly important role in boosting innovation and promoting transformation," said Cao Zhenquan, deputy director of the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. He noted that the zone will continue to optimize its industry environment and create an innovative ecosystem to support emerging industries' further development, such as biopharmaceuticals, precision medicines and big data in medicine. 


Researchers operate a machine for protein purification at a biotech lab in the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.Xinhua