Lockdown To Reopening: China Rebound Uncertain As Biotech Remains In Survival Mode
Post-'COVID Zero' Reawakening
The short-notice reopening of the country made 2022 a tough year for the health sector in China, where divestments, cash crunches and commercial challenges abounded. Throughout the year, despite clinical trial activity continuing to blossom, multiple Chinese innovative drug developers faced setbacks in the US from regulatory rejections of oncology products. Meanwhile, others quietly scaled back their operations in China, hit by the negative impact of deep price cuts.
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The past year witnessed only one major acquisition of a Chinese biotech by a major pharma company. However, some established firms such as Hansoh have set a new course for collaboration with much smaller peers by in-licensing preclinical assets.
After inking major deals with AbbVie and AstraZeneca, China-US company Harbour BioMed recently shifted strategy, divesting its site in Suzhou to WuXi in a bid to be “more focused, efficient and nimble” and emerge stronger post-pandemic, says founder, chairman and CEO Jingsong Wang in an exclusive interview.
During his two-hour speech to the Chinese Communist Party's National Congress, general secretary and country president Xi Jinping said China's "COVID Zero" policy was here to stay and vowed to place equal importance on physical and mental health under a Healthy China initiative, in a series of declarations on general policy directions for the next five years.