Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 BioMedical Asia conference discussion: is Asia the key to developing affordable healthcare?

Here’s a note from the editors of PharmAsia News, with a closer look at important biopharma developments from China, India, Japan, and the Pacific Rim.

SINGAPORE – Our PharmAsia News team had a productive week in Singapore covering BioMedical Asia. If there was one recurring theme in Singapore – aside from the delicious food – and in conversation with multinationals that maintain operations at Singapore’s research and development park Biopolis, it was “affordable healthcare.” Big pharma is looking to reduce development costs while small biotechs look for complementary partners as venture funds dry up.

The Singapore government is offering companies incentives to draw them to the country, including providing services for operating at Biopolis or venture funding through Singapore’s venture capital investment arm Bio*One Capital, and in doing so is helping decrease the gap between early-stage research and proof-of-concept.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is sitting on untapped reserves of novel research and intellectual property due to a lack of proper funding. Universities are developing interesting technology, but the government – unlike in Taiwan and Singapore – has yet to draw top investors to help translate academic research to product commercialization.

In South Korea, the University of Utah and South Korea’s Inha University finalized an agreement to create a joint pharmaceutical research and development center in Incheon. The joint center will initially focus on drug delivery systems, especially for cancer and pain management.

GlaxoSmithKline launched vaccine Cerverix in India for the prevention of pre-malignant cervical lesions and cervical cancer related to human pappilomavirus. After a drawn-out registration and approval process, GSK launched Cerverix six months after Merck brought Gardasil to India.

The 2009 BioMedical Asia attracted 1500+ senior industry executives from
30+ countries, representing pharmaceutical and biotech senior executives, regulators, investors and other industry stakeholders. Together, they explores partnership and investment opportunities and discussed best operational strategies and successful business models. The conference featured four conference tracks, enabling attendees to pick and choose topics most relevant to their business interests.

- BioManufacturing
- R&D Strategy and Partnering
- Clinical Operations and Partnering
- Investment and Financing

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