GE bullish on biopharmaceutical market

Updated: 2016-05-17 10:40

By Zhu Wenqian in Wuhan(China Daily)

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GE bullish on biopharmaceutical market

A technician at YZYBio, a biopharmaceutical company based in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. China's market for biological medicine and devices is expected to grow significantly.GUAN XIN/CHINA DAILY

General Electric Healthcare Co, a leader in the high-end medical devices market, said it is bullish on the long-term growth of the biopharmaceutical market in China, and the market for biological medicine and devices is expected to grow significantly.

Last year, China reported about 4.3 million new cancer cases, and that number accounts for 20 percent of global new cancer cases. The rising cancer rates have posed a major health problem for the country, according to a report by the American Cancer Society.

GE Healthcare said it plans to shift the production of some of its biological products to China from the United States and Europe. The multinational healthcare provider also plans to put more top R&D effort into China.

GE Healthcare recently unveiled its first modular biopharmaceutical factory, which consists of 62 modules, in a biotech zone in Wuhan, Hubei province. China became the first country to receive GE's cutting-edge factory that was prefabricated in Germany, where it took 18 months to complete construction.

"Local manufacturing in China is a more affordable way to provide modern therapies for deadly diseases like cancer, a leading cause of death in China," said Jan Makela, general manager of BioProcessing Life Sciences at GE Healthcare.

"Biological medical products are considered as a critical way to fight against major diseases such as cancer and diabetes," he added.

"Putting the factory into operation will accelerate the development of biopharmaceutical industry in China, and assist pharmaceutical manufacturers in speeding up manufacturing and launching of biological medicines."

JHL Biotech, a biological products manufacturer in Taiwan that is backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, bought the factory. The company will manufacture biological medicines and monoclonal antibodies for late-stage clinical trials and commercial supply.

"We hope to work with GE to build JHL into a world-class biopharmaceutical factory, accelerate capacity improvement in Asia and meet potential market demand. In addition, we will be able to manufacture the one-time largest number of cells in Asia after the facility was put into operation," said Racho Jordanov, CEO and co-founder of JHL Biotech.

The global biological medicine market is currently estimated to be worth $200 billion, taking up 20 percent of the overall medicine market, and the biological medicine sector sees a growth rate of around 10 percent to 12 percent annually.

China is still in the early stages of developing biopharmaceutical manufacturing. In China, where biological medicine currently takes only 4 percent of the domestic medicine market, the growth rate is seen as being exponential in coming years. By 2019, the biological medicine market in China is expected to reach $350 million, surging from $44 million in 2009, according to a study of the Global Biosimilars Market that was published in 2014.

Last year, China announced the national initiative "Made in China 2025", which was designed to transform the nation from a manufacturing giant of quantity into a world power of manufacturing quality.