Myth 3: Minimal or no innovation occurs in China
In the next five to ten years, we will see a major paradigm shift from “Made in China” to “Discovered in China.” The government has committed $308 billion to invest in science and technology development over the next five years, with a focus on biotechnology.
In addition, many highly educated, ambitious, Western-trained professionals are returning to China to take advantage of better career opportunities at home. They play a major role in starting new innovative companies, and they are leading the development and commercialization of new products in China.
I predict there will be a surge of Sino-U.S. life science partnerships in the coming years. Selling traditional Chinese medicines and generics no longer satisfies many Chinese companies. To stay ahead of the competition in a market where growth is 25–30%, Chinese companies are actively seeking partners in the West to co-develop innovative medicine.
In the U.S., many groundbreaking products are currently shelved due to lack of resources for further development. Biotech companies are searching for partners to provide the much needed capital for costly research programs and clinical trials.
This environment creates an excellent opportunity for win-win partnerships. A common model is for a U.S. company to find a Chinese partner that will share the R&D costs and risks to co-develop a new product. The Chinese partner earns the commercial rights in China, while the U.S. company retains the global rights outside of China.