Shanghai eyes glory in gene therapy biz
A medical robot on display during an industry expo in Shanghai. CHINA DAILY
Biomedical plan focuses on research, demo centers, innovation bases, firms
Shanghai's municipal government said on Monday it aims to promote gene therapy in a big way.
The city will build five clinical medical research centers and demonstration research hospital wards, and 20 gene therapy innovation bases and platforms by 2025.
Also, 15 backbone enterprises in gene therapy will be set up, according to the Shanghai Action Plan for Promoting Gene Therapy Science and Technology Innovation and Industrial Development (2023-25).
It is one of the four action plans unveiled at the opening ceremony of the five-day International Biopharma Industry Week Shanghai 2023 that opened on Monday.
All such new policies are aimed at accelerating the construction of a biomedical innovation center with international influence in Shanghai. The larger goal is to make the city home to world-class biomedical industry clusters.
"Basic research, key core technologies, and key equipment and materials will be the focus of innovation orientations for Shanghai in the field," said Zhuang Mudi, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai government, while releasing the action plan.
"The Zhangjiang Cell and Gene Industrial Park in Pudong New Area and Pujiang Gene Future Valley in Minhang district will be the main powerhouses to fulfill the goals," he said.
Data from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization showed that the city has continued to maintain a good trend in biomedical innovation, especially gene therapy, in recent years. From January to August, 133 clinical trials of first-in-class innovative medicines developed in Shanghai were approved by the country's drug authority. Twenty of them were in the field of cell and gene therapy.
The other three action plans unveiled on Monday are in the fields of synthetic biology innovation, medical robots and biomedical intelligent manufacturing.
In the field of medical robots, Shanghai will strive to build two industrial agglomeration areas in Zhangjiang and the Grand Zero Bay by 2025, with the first focusing on design, research and development and the other focusing on cutting-edge innovation and clinical tests.
"We target building 10 innovative and world-class medical robots and creating 10 application demonstration scenarios, including those for surgery, rehabilitation and auxiliary services, which can be promoted and replicated," said Zhuang.
"Since 2019, one-fourth of the first-in-class innovative drugs from locally approved firms or labs in the country are from Shanghai, and one-sixth of the local innovative medical devices registered in the country are from Shanghai. The city has evolved from being a center for creation and imitation to being a leader in innovation. A number of new drugs, China's first cell therapy new medicines and world-class medical devices have emerged at a rapid pace," said Chen Jie, vice-mayor of Shanghai.
Both foreign investment and the local private economy in biomedicine are growing in Shanghai. Official data showed that between January and August this year, 23 new major projects in the biomedical field kicked off in the city, entailing a total investment of 5.58 billion yuan ($763 million).