Looking on the bright side, Chinese domestic market demand for healthcare products and services will continue to grow as a result of the government’s strong mandate to provide healthcare to the country’s entire 1.3 billion population, including the 70% living in rural areas.
“The large patient and talent pools, coupled with massive layoffs in the U.S. life science industry, makes China a highly attractive place for biopharmaceutical talents,” remarked Jonathan Wang, managing director at Orbimed, a private equity firm.
Among the presenting companies and those who have achieved funding success, a common theme has emerged: many founders are “sea turtles” (overseas returnees), Chinese nationals who came to North America or Europe for graduate studies and subsequently gained industry or academic research experience, then returned to China as entrepreneurs.
Some of them belong to the new class of “sea gulls” who commute back and forth between China and their second home overseas. Many have established a joint presence in China, where much of the service or discovery operation is ongoing, and in the U.S. (or Canada, Europe) where business development and other corporate functions are maintained.