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Takeda ramps up efforts in China market to enhance local ties

By ZHENG YIRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-25 09:48
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Takeda's booth is seen during the fifth China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Bullish about the Chinese market, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd is ramping up efforts to cooperate with local partners to help build a more innovative digital-empowered ecosystem in the country, said a Takeda senior executive.

Ramona Sequeira, president of the global portfolio division at the company, said: "We are in a stage of bringing many new innovative products to China. China's growth is strong, and we believe that in the next decade, the market will become our largest after the United States."

Takeda has brought 10 products to the Chinese market over the past three years and expects another few products in the coming years, Sequeira said.

The company planned in 2020 to launch more than 15 innovative products in the Chinese market by 2025. To date, more than 10 such products have been approved, making Takeda a leader among its peers in gaining approvals in China over the past three years. In addition, among the approved products, seven are included in the National Reimbursement Drug List.

Takeda said that its strong growth in China is propelled by a local ecosystem empowered by innovation and digital technologies.

"The innovative development that China's biopharmaceutical industry has undergone since 2015 has drawn worldwide attention. This is why we are constantly joining hands with indigenous companies, to create a better biopharmaceutical ecosystem," said Sean Shan, senior vice-president of Takeda and president of Takeda China.

Takeda announced an exclusive agreement last week with Shanghai-based Belief BioMed Inc to accelerate the commercialization of an innovative gene therapy for hemophilia type B in the Chinese market.

Shan said the move is "an important milestone" for Takeda, adding that he believes that with ties established in China, and the new technologies and assets created with such ties, the company can bring innovation not only to the domestic market, but also to the globe, through collaborations between local and multinational corporations.

Since March, more than 20 senior executives from healthcare MNCs, such as Takeda, Bayer, Abbot, Medtronic and Merck, have visited China, with one purpose in common — to enhance ties with local partners.

Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that such efforts by MNCs can boost their complementarity — an inevitable global trend.

With eyes on the development of digital technology in China, Takeda launched the Digital Innovation Academy with Fudan University's Intelligent Medicine Institute last week to promote the integration of digital products into the research and development of medicines.

"We aim to revolutionize how we screen, diagnose and treat diseases, and improve patient outcomes across the entire healthcare path. You can expect more digital solutions to be launched according to the new innovative medicines that we are going to bring to the Chinese market very soon," said Gabriele Ricci, chief data and technology officer of Takeda.

Chu Yiwei, Party secretary of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Fudan University, said, "We aim for a bigger role in the healthcare sector and will help bridge the gap between academia and companies to drive meaningful advancements in medical research and patient care."

In addition, Haleon China, also a healthcare player, launched its mini program Key earlier this year to offer personalized nutrition solutions to Chinese consumers with collected user data such as health conditions.

At the upcoming sixth China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai between Nov 5-10, many healthcare MNCs said they expect to take advantage of the world-class opening-up platform to deepen cooperation with local partners, further explore the Chinese market and better shape the local healthcare ecosystem.

Shan said, "Rewarding innovation is essential to the pathway of high-quality development in the biopharmaceutical industry by better protecting intellectual property rights, securing data protection, improving pricing mechanisms and addressing the 'last-kilometer issue', or reimbursement."

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