Growth and opportunity in Chinese biopharmaceutical markets staggering, say new reports

Richard Tadd Industry News

A report released in February by US-based Research and Markets addresses the shift in China away from low volume, high value manufacturing as a major catalyst for the increasing growth rate of China’s pharmaceutical market. The country now holds, at minimum, an 8 – 10% market share globally.

The report goes on to state that greater technological advancements could quickly be called upon to keep up with this increased and ever-changing demand, with continuous manufacturing processes for drugs looking set to become a priority. This has already been reflected in pharma manufacturing firm BrightGene’s movements.

The Suzhou-based firm is the first within China to develop technology capable of synthesising and preparing the drug remdesivir – an antiviral used to treat Ebola and the Marbug virus. Despite stating that it had manufactured doses of the drug, BrightGene is adamant that it will not launch the drug until it has received licensing from Gilead, the treatment’s original developer in the US, and will carry out trials using Chinese CROs. In response to the news, BrightGene saw a 20% rise of stock on the Shanghai market on Wednesday morning.

BrightGene is far from the only winner on the financial markets, however. Investors also see other Chinese talent as extremely valuable bets, with the Chongqing-based company Porton Pharma Solutions Ltd. seeing an incredible 64% rise per share since markets reopened for trading on 3 February. Porton Pharma is a vital supplier of raw materials and certain intermediates that are used to create darunavir, a drug used primarily in the treatment of HIV, and which some speculate could have further use in related viral illnesses.

Excitement at the prospective breakthroughs in development and distribution doesn’t stop here, however – an additional research paper published by LEK Insights noted that the reforms brought in since the formation of the NMPA (National Medical Products Association) created “policies that are increasingly favourable for innovative oncology therapeutics.” They continue, stating: “the overall oncology market environment in China continues to mature and improve.”

The popularity of China’s market comes as little surprise to those with a careful eye on future possibilities within the wider pharmaceutical world. Total oncological therapeutics growth reached 24% in 2018, with an estimate total market value of around US$9 billion. In China, clinical trials numbered around 1,500 during the period 2009 – 2018, with a staggering 700 potential cancer treatments contributing to this sum. With 4 million diagnoses during 2018 – over twice that of the US – and the easy availability of China’s population thanks to a large number of densely populated urban sectors, the Chinese market has no shortage of research subjects.

With the evidence of yet more international reports speculating about the bright future ahead for Chinese oncology firms, and the growing stock prices of the sector even amid a wider global slowdown, the industry is primed to become a serious contender for the global pharmaceutical top spot during the 2020s.