China is poised to become the global leader in life science discovery and innovation within the next decade.
At a time when the global life sciences and pharmaceutical industries are beset by major challenges, including patent cliffs, skyrocketing costs of drug approvals and failures in key trials for potentially landmark new drugs, China has developed a strategy of targeted government investments. Through a variety of national and regional programs, China is spending billions on a new health care “safety net,” encouraging the growth of life science parks and startups, financing the development of a high-quality research infrastructure and luring back tens of thousands of Western-educated Chinese researchers.
“In just a decade’s time—a short-term horizon in the life sciences field—China will not only be a significant engine of innovation, but has the potential to create a new model for advanced drug discovery,” said George Baeder, who runs Monitor’s China life science practice from his office in Shanghai and co-authored the report. “Other industries have repeatedly failed to anticipate how quickly China can adapt and impact the global playing field.” Baeder cautions that the pharmaceutical industry must now also pay attention.