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Sep 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 15)

Omics-Related Research On Rise in China

Formerly Conducted Mostly in Institutes, Field Blossoming Now as Companies See Benefits

  • Current Market Value

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    The technical advances in genomics and proteomics have helped Chinese biotech companies develop new diagnostic technologies and products. The rapid advancement of the Chinese industry has been driven by the fast growth of the Chinese economy, which has made healthcare products more affordable. In addition, ongoing nationwide healthcare reform is making health insurance coverage more readily available to Chinese residents.

    Based on our analysis, the current market value of the genomic and proteomic research sector in China is around $175 million, growing at about 35% a year (CAGR) in the past five years (Figure). The rapid application of research results in genomics and proteomics to the development of new molecular diagnostic products has largely attributed to this fast growth.

    Development of biomarkers has been slow in China, and application of the technology by Chinese drug companies has been limited, largely due to the still-low-level R&D activities found in the country.

    Acceptance of the personalized medicine concept is also low in China, primarily because of the high price of these products. Most personalized medicines that are marketed in the West have not been launched in China. The current market values for both biomarkers and personalized medicine sectors in China are thus very small.

  • Future Outlook

    The fast growth of the Chinese genomic and proteomic sector has drawn the attention of foreign companies that are interested in seeking partnerships with local companies for co-developing or marketing their products in China.

    Since genomics and proteomics have now been coupled with the development of molecular biomarkers and diagnostics it is, therefore, expected that this sector will grow appreciably in the near future.

    It is also expected that the development of new technologies in these areas will take place not only in the Western pharmaceutical industry but also almost simultaneously in China, which will propel the Chinese industry to even faster growth.

    In addition to the globally favorable R&D climate, a number of other factors, both internally and externally, will also determine China's future growth prospect in these areas.

    Externally, demands by international drug companies for R&D collaboration with local Chinese companies/research institutions and co-marketing of their products in the Chinese market will prompt local Chinese companies to enhance their capability in order to meet demands.

    Internally, China's large, well-trained workforce, government support, and the increasing availability of R&D funding from various sources will continue to drive the Chinese genomic and proteomic industry forward.

    Among all industrial sectors, the strongest growth will likely occur in the Chinese in vitro diagnostic market. The relative ease and lower risk inherent in developing a diagnostic product will also induce more companies to get involved in the industry or new companies to emerge as the entry barrier to the industry is relatively low compared with traditional drug discovery and development.

    Based on our in-depth analysis of its growth drivers and resistors, we believe that the Chinese genomic and proteomic industry will continue to grow with a CAGR of about 30% in the following five years and the market value will likely reach $655 million by 2015.

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