Updated on 24 January 2013
TEDA's biopharmaceutical industry chain is extremely well developed, with 396 enterprises providing medicine manufacturing, medical equipment production and services. Most of the foreign-invested firms focus on manufacturing, whereas the domestic firms are engaged in R&D innovation and production. This has helped to create synergies between large companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and Novozymes, as well as device or manufacturing companies such as Hannah. There are also Contract Research Organizations (CROs), such as Wuxi AppTec, and even Traditional Chinese Medicine manufacturers engaged in innovation within TEDA. More importantly, an industry biotech chain has been formed that includes research and development, technology transfer, production, business logistics and tradeshows. As pointed out by Mads Kronborg, Public Relations Manager for Lundbeck: "We chose TEDA because the actual facilities of the site met our technical and strategic requirements...also, the industrial park hosts a number of other multinational pharmaceutical companies thereby forming a ‘hub'."
Synergies are particularly important in the pharmaceutical industry to push forward innovation. For example, TEDA has companies such as Tianjin Jin Yao Group and Wuxi AppTec that are the first in the country in terms of innovations in corticosteroids and pharmaceutical R&D respectively. Combined with a wealth of foreign investment and the annual 200 million yuan budget of the TEDA Bio-pharmaceutical Industry Fund, the future looks set to bring about an improved investment environment with greater emphasis on specialization and segmentation for all areas of the biotech industry.
Investment zones are attractive to global pharmaceutical brands also because of advanced infrastructure and opportunities of proximity. For example, in 2012, Tianhe-BGI Bioinformatics and Computing Joint Laboratory was launched in the Binhai New Area. The JV uses the Tianhe-1A, the world's second fastest supercomputer, to research biological sciences, doing human genomics association studies in 3 hours that used to take over 300 days.
After all, it is cutting-edge research that really drives pharmaceutical and biotech growth. Thus far, over 200 million yuan investment has been made on pharmaceutical research alone in TEDA. By 2015, there are expected to be more than 50 R&D institutions in TEDA, with investment in research expected to account for 10 percent of total revenues. These innovations are already taking place in research institutions such as Tianjin Industrial Biotechnology R&D Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIBC, CAS), and Tianjin Institute of Pharmaceutical Research (TIPR). This is further bolstered by the clinical bases that surround the area, with 60 A-level hospitals in the Tianjin and Beijing region with a wide variety of specializations.
Indeed, such clinical advantage in China has been one of the driving forces drawing many global pharmaceutical brands to China. Cost efficiency, strong intellectual capital and adoption of international standards in good clinical practice have all helped usher in a better environment for clinical research in the country.