BioBAY in 2020: accelerating development

As 2020 draws to an end, the extraordinary year is marked by terms such as “hero in harm’s way”, “suspension” and “resumption”, among others. For BioBAY, “accelerating” is one of the terms defining the year as it has pressed the accelerator all year long.

In 2020, BioBAY turned 13. People in the park prefer to call it "B Village", derived from its English name BioBAY. Currently, BioBAY is home to more than 430 innovation-oriented biopharmaceutical companies, forming three key industrial clusters: innovative drug discovery and development, high-end medical devices, and biotechnology. 

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Vigorous vaccine development

Vaccines represent the highest promise of biomedicine -- disease prevention. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, when vaccines would be available has been the focus of the world, and countries are vying for the fastest track of clinical application.

“After the Spring Festival, Abogen immediately organized employees and resumed work in full on February 3,” said Ying Bo, founder of Suzhou Abogen Biosciences, adding that the company had been dedicated to accelerating the discovery and development of a Covid-19 vaccine. It worked with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, and has been recognized for China’s mRNA vaccine project in the first batch.

Established in early 2019, Suzhou Abogen Biosciences is an innovative biomedical company focusing on the discovery and development of mRNA drugs. The technology can make the human body a processing plant for its own protein drugs through mRNA instructions, for treatment or prevention.

After the outbreak of Covid-19, BioBAY’s service team offered follow-up services to resolve problems encountered by enterprises in resuming work and production, and upstream and downstream cooperation, every week. With concerted efforts, Abogen completed the production of the first batch of experimental mRNA vaccines on February 6, and began animal experiments the next day.

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Abogen recently announced the closing of a RMB150-million Series A financing round. This round was led by SDIC Venture Capital, with the participation of Hillhouse Capital and Chengdu Kanghua Biological Products Co., Ltd., among others. The money will be used to accelerate the development of China's first Covid-19 mRNA vaccine to play an active role in the fight against the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, a vaccine development competition has been launched in BioBAY with the participation of several enterprises, including Abogen. 

Advaccine Biotechnology Co., Ltd. is one of them, and is committed to vaccine discovery relying on its R&D strength.

In June Advaccine signed cooperation agreements with the key labs of the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Education to advance clinical trials of China’s first Covid-19 DNA vaccine. 

In September, Advaccine announced a merger with SA Biotech (Suzhou) Pte Ltd, an innovative vaccine producer, and made it a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Dr. Liu Dan, vaccine production director of Advaccine, said: “SA Biotech has nearly 20,000 square meters of high-standard vaccine production facilities in SIP. Advaccine will transform this base into a genetic engineering and nucleic acid vaccine production base with large-scale production capacity and international standing. It will be Suzhou’s first vaccine production base, with an annual production capacity of tens of millions to hundreds of millions of doses, and prioritize the production and supply of a Covid-19 DNA vaccine.”

The vaccine sector is recognized as one of the most promising, and many companies in BioBAY are competing in this arena. In addition to vaccines, research and development of Covid-19 detection instruments and kits, and neutralizing antibody drugs are also in full swing. These biomedical companies are engaged in a race to curb the virus, which reflects the hard core strength of BioBAY.

Base of listed companies enlarged 

On December 10, Harbour BioMed announced its IPO on HKEX. It issued 138 million shares globally at a price of HK$12.38 per share, and raised HK$1.711 billion in total.

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Established in 2016, Harbour BioMed is a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel antibody therapeutics in oncology and immunological diseases. As an important cornerstone in the discovery and development of drugs, it has constructed nearly 3,500 square meters of scientific research laboratories in BioBAY.

Following new HKEX policies in 2018 and the inauguration of the Science and Technology Innovation Board (STAR Market) at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2019, pre-profit innovative pharmaceutical companies have ushered in an IPO boom. Taking BioBAY as an example, eight companies have successfully made it to the green channel for non-income and pre-profit biopharmaceutical companies of the HKEX, including Harbour BioMed, Innovent Biologics and CStone Pharmaceuticals.

BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co., Ltd. (BrightGene) is the first innovative pharmaceutical enterprise listed on the Sci-tech Innovation Board in BioBAY. HOB Biotech Group Corp., Ltd. and CareRay Digital Medical Technology Co., Ltd. have passed review of the SSE STAR Market Stock Listing Committee; BeiGene, Zai Lab and Hutchison MediPharma have listed on NASDAQ (BeiGene and Zai Lab have also listed on the HKEX). So far, BioBAY has 12 companies listed on domestic and international stock markets.

The results can be attributed to BioBAY’s continuous efforts in building and improving capital platforms. Since 2012, BioBAY has joined renowned venture capital institutions such as 6 Dimensions Capital, Lilly Asian Ventures and Medtronic-Sequoia China Healthcare Technology Venture Investment Fund in the form of equity participation. It invested nearly RMB1 billion and funded more than 300 projects. At the same time, BioBAY has also participated in the launch of Sungent Bioventure (YuanBio Venture Capital), Juming Venture Capital and other industrial funds which focus on early- and mid-stage entrepreneurial projects. It has invested in more than 90 innovative projects to jointly promote the innovative development of the biopharmaceutical industry in Suzhou as well as rest of China.

Listed enterprises in BioBAY have done well in 2020.

BioBAY has offered strong support to Innovent Biologics since it was established nine years ago: from capital support in the early stages to the construction of a high-end industrial base that meets EU standards. Today the high-tech biopharmaceutical company has released four monoclonal antibodies, and created an “Innovent Speed” of getting three new drugs approved within only over three months. The outstanding performance is a result of the enterprise’s efforts in BioBAY, and a vivid demonstration of the strong industrial competitiveness of the park.

BeiGene’s presence in BioBAY started in 2015. In April that year, it officially settled the small molecule drug production base in Suzhou Industrial Park. In November 2017, BeiGene's production base in Suzhou was officially completed.

On June 3, 2020, BRUKINSA (zanubrutinib), the first anti-cancer drug independently developed in China by BeiGene and approved in the United States, was officially approved in China. On June 15, its Suzhou base completed the first batch of commercial supply of the new drug and the first prescription was issued at the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University on the same day. This means that China's first domestically discovered anti-cancer drug that has gone global started to benefit domestic lymphoma patients since that day.

The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of BeiGene and the biotech company has undoubtedly grown into a leader in China's biopharmaceutical industry over the years.

In the next decade, how can it maintain its momentum? This is the challenge for BeiGene and other entities in BioBAY.

A complete industrial chain

September was the “SIP Moment” of China's pharmaceutical industry.

On September 17, DeviceChina 2020 kicked off on the banks of Jinji Lake in Suzhou. Guests at the forum examined how to explore new development opportunities and grow stronger and further.

BioBAY, sponsor of the event, announced that it would expand again. Phase V is under construction, with a construction area of about 250,000 square meters. Expected to be put into use gradually in 2022, it will be used for incubation and cultivation of medical device innovation enterprises. 

With over 10 years of development, BioBAY has more than 150 enterprises and formed a relatively complete industrial chain in emerging diagnosis technology and high-end medical devices. Of them, 10 enterprises recorded sales of more than RMB100 million annually, and 30 reported more than RMB10 million. Currently BioBAY has 521 medical device registration certificates.

On September 27, the 5th China BioMed Innovation and Investment Conference opened on the banks of Jinji Lake.

During the conference, Song Ruilin, executive president of the China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association (PhIRDA), said China’s pharmaceutical innovation has entered the season of spring, and it is now the stage for sowing. "We should work hard to enter the stage of vigorous growth in summer so that we can have a bump harvest in autumn." 

On November 3, China Biotech Innovation Conference kicked off on the banks of Jinji Lake. China National Center for Biotechnology Development released the 2020 Competitiveness Evaluation and Analysis Report on Biomedical Industry Parks of China and SIP topped the list of competitiveness in China, according to the report. BioBAY is proud of being an important carrier of the park's biopharmaceutical industry.  

However, BioBAY is clear that it needs to further consolidate the park's strengths in antibody drugs and develop new cutting edge technologies. The Sangtian Island Phase II of BioBAY has made new explorations on how to build on its advantages and improve weak links in the industrial chain.

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On the day when Phase II was put into use, BioBAY showed the industry the blueprint of a 42-hectare high-end biomedicine industrialization base for the next three to five phases, which will be used to create a complete chain of biomedicine incubation, acceleration and industrialization. The overall planning of Sangtian Island reveals BioBAY's ambitious goal of  building the "strongest industrial cluster" of biomedicine. 

Pang Junyong, president of BioBAY, said as the biopharmaceutical industry develops very rapidly, BioBAY will adopt the 4Is strategy (innovate, integrate, invest and internationalize) to maintain and improve its competitive advantages and empower innovative enterprises at different stages. BioBAY will focus on the entire process from discovery and development, and production to market release, and introduce and cultivate upstream and downstream service enterprises to build a complete industrial chain.

As 2021 approaches, and with unforgettable memories of 2020, BioBAY starts a new journey to realize more dreams. 

Source: China Newsweek


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