15 Mar 2013, Amrita Tejasvi, BioSpectrum
Chinese vaccine development companies are raising the bar to meet international standards. However, access to foreign markets remains a challenge. Shanghai BravoBio, which has a strong and effective network in the biotechnology industry, is facilitating vaccine development in China.
The idea behind setting up such a company came to Dr Wu Ke when he was working with Shanghai Zerun Biotechnology. He realized the hurdles that a vaccine development company faces in reaching out to the international markets and came up with the concept of starting a platform for both Chinese companies and international vaccine companies to share knowledge and technologies for developing vaccines.
Some of his colleagues from Shanghai Zerun, with expertize in different departments of vaccine development, such as R&D, production, quality, logistics and marketing, joined him to form Shanghai BravoBio. "After many years of collaborations, we have developed true friendship and trust in each other. We are different individuals, but we all share the same value of developing vaccine for China market and have the characteristic of being realistic, reliable and optimistic," says Dr Wu Ke talking about the team at Shanghai BravoBio, adding that the most important factor is that they complement each other.
Leveraging the industry experience in vaccine quality control, manufacture, regulatory affairs and R&D management, technology transfer and facility evaluation, Shanghai BravoBio is assisting China-based companies to bring innovation in human vaccine development through technology transfer from the international market.
Adopting the collaboration model in R&D assistance and market development, it is also supporting a Beijing-based biopharma firm to set up a joint venture focused on R&D, manufacture and marketing of new generation diagnostic reagents against infectious diseases, thus creating a pipeline of around 10 products. In another initiative, BravoBio is supporting Chinese Academy of Sciences for research on new vaccines to fight infectious and tropical diseases, and is also assisting the academy in industrialization and commercialization of their state-funded research projects.
"Initial capital for BravoBio came from the pocket of the founders," says Dr Wu Ke, pointing out that it takes six-to-eight years for a new vaccine to be launched. "Before that, the company must survive and sustainably develop," he adds. Therefore, apart from raising funds through partnerships, BravoBio is expecting that industrial joint ventures that focus on manufacturing and marketing vaccine-related diagnostic kits will turn profitable this year. "The international business is expected to bring revenue next year," informs Dr Wu Ke.
Shanghai BravoBio is organizing a joint venture with a publicly-listed company to develop and produce new vaccines on industrial scale. This will be the core entity of the company.
Moving ahead, Shanghai BravoBio plans to develop diagnostics and therapeutic macro-molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and fusion proteins.
The corporate strategy is to integrate chain and resources to guide sustainable development. Quality and speed are two main factors considered by the team along with international partnership aimed for future growth.
On receiving BioSpectrum Asia Emerging Company of the Year Award, Dr Wu Ke says the company is delighted. "As a start-up with less than two years of history, we know BravoBio is still quite young and has long way to go. We are making a career by being valuable to human society and have a well-prepared strategy, plan, business model and partnership. We believe BravoBio will be an influential and respected biotech company from China in the coming seven-to-eight years that will be capable of supplying quality products to the global market and be beneficial to the people worldwide."