Confronted with the best world healthcare disaster in a century, the biotech sector has flourished throughout the pandemic, as demand from customers for Covid-19 take a look at kits, antiviral medicines and vaccines has skyrocketed. Due to the fact of its unique pros, Hong Kong is ideally positioned to capitalize on the growth in this sector.
Hong Kong is a purely natural dwelling for biotech, with 5 universities within the top rated 100 of the QS 2021 Globe University Rankings, and the medical faculties of the College of Hong Kong and the Chinese College of Hong Kong rated between the 50 greatest globally in the exact rankings. Making on that sturdy educational foundation is the Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Fee (HKITC) and the biomedical investigate cluster at Hong Kong Science & Technological know-how Parks Company (HKSTP), which with each other have backed hundreds of ventures together with thriving regional biotech startups these kinds of as Acaderma Asia and Sanwa BioTech.
“HKSTP has provided us remarkable help through our early many years as a smaller-scale startup and offered us with an worldwide system to speed up our achievements,” suggests Kelvin Chiu, CEO of Sanwa BioTech, a diagnostics answer innovator with an advanced microfluidic-technologies platform in Asia. Chiu suggests HKSTP and HKITC deliver startups with many funding schemes, this kind of as the Innovation & Know-how Fund, on top rated of providing entire world-class amenities at current internet sites and investing in new destinations this kind of as the Highly developed Production Centre (AMC) in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate, which is slated to open up in 2022. Sanwa BioTech will base its new manufacturing facility at AMC, and Chiu thinks the shift will help the business scale by expanding its manufacturing capability to empower it to source its diagnostic solutions to Asia and other markets all around the entire world.
This dynamic assist composition and generous funding environment has attracted a slew of worldwide companies, which includes ACT Genomics, an integrated biomarker alternative chief in Asia for precision most cancers administration with functions in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and now Hong Kong. In 2019, ACT Genomics resolved to open up a facility in Hong Kong owing to HKITC and HKSTP “actively promoting the biotech industry,” claims the company’s Main Economic Officer Victor Chan. “When we started off looking at establishing a planet-typical [next-generation sequencing] lab in Hong Kong, we bought potent support from HKSTP in phrases of web page planning, infrastructure and amenities,” Chan provides.
Chan states Hong Kong’s area, on the doorstep of mainland China and as an integral aspect of the Higher Bay Region financial zone, is yet another reason that biotech businesses are flocking to the territory, not only for the most likely massive market, but also the possibility for regional collaboration fostered by the city’s innovation agencies. “HKITC and HKSTP have offered a really beautiful atmosphere, both bodily and intellectually, for partners to interact for further scientific and innovation developments,” he claims.
Outdoors of govt assistance, Hong Kong’s world-course monetary infrastructure is also proving a boon to biotech. With the concentrate on R&D, biotech startups hardly ever produce significant profits, let alone income, and this can verify an impediment in elevating cash. But a modern rule adjust by HKEX has produced the town a mecca for biotech listings.
In 2018, HKEX permitted capable biotech companies to list on the trade prior to earning income, and the resultant alter has observed dozens of companies go community, including Innovent Biologics, CanSino Biologics and Alphamab Oncology. With billions of pounds raised and a lot more organizations on the lookout to list, Hong Kong has, in less than 3 several years, turn out to be the 2nd-biggest biotech fundraising center in the environment just after the U.S.