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Innovation puts pharma sector in global league

By LIU ZHIHUA | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-07 09:12
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A worker conducts quality control checks at a medical production workshop of a pharmaceutical company in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, on Jan 14. [Photo/Xinhua]

Expansion abroad, breakthroughs in China confirm modernization

Intensified policy support, deepening healthcare industry reform, higher-level opening-up, pursuit of innovation-driven development, increasing numbers of the elderly and emerging global opportunities are all combining to make China a strategic player in the global pharmaceutical market.

The country's significance emanates from its status as a humongous consumer market as well as the fact that it is an increasingly crucial linkage in global pharmaceutical industrial and supply chains.

Riding these glad tidings are companies such as Porton Pharma Solutions Ltd, a Chongqing-based Chinese contract development manufacture organization (CDMO). Porton recently announced its plan to establish a research, development and manufacturing site in Slovenia. The project marks Porton's latest move to expand its global footprint.

Such developments reflect the emphasis placed on innovation as part of China's modernization drive, which received pride of place in a report delivered at the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Oct 16.

The country will accelerate the implementation of its innovation-driven development strategy, to achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, the report said.

It also said efforts will be made to improve the new system for mobilizing resources nationwide, in order to make key technological breakthroughs, and boost China's strength in strategic science and technology.

That's something Porton has been doing for a while now. It provides end-to-end process R&D and manufacturing services across small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs, dosage forms and biologics to top multinational pharmaceutical companies as well as startups.

More than 90 percent of Porton's revenue comes from overseas markets where it has operations and offices — the United States, the European Union and so forth. China, of course, is a key market too.

During the first half of the year, the company's revenue was valued at 3.91 billion yuan ($539 million), up 212 percent year-on-year. Its net profit rose 465 percent year-on-year to 1.21 billion yuan.

Experts said China's pharmaceutical sector has been pushed to forge stronger innovation and R&D capabilities, as well as more stable industrial and supply chains, to meet the growing healthcare demand, especially from an aging society.

"While the elderly population in China is increasing, the country has also been deepening reforms in the healthcare sector to spur rapid development in related industries like drugs and vaccines, traditional Chinese medicine and medical devices," said Chen Jia, a researcher at the International Monetary Institute of the Renmin University of China in Beijing.

"That will push the development of Chinese pharmaceutical industrial and supply chains with unparalleled driving force," he said, adding that only through quality innovations and supply-side reforms could China strengthen its pharmaceutical industrial and supply chains to meet increasing medical demand in the aging society.

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