A Cambridge based life science consultancy is helping companies trample down barriers to entry into the increasingly liberalised Chinese marketplace.Link China Pharma Solutions, run by Marshall Ma and Nadine Su, has already helped Babraham based vaccines specialist ImmunoBiology (ImmBio) – which in the past received grant aid from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – gain market traction in China.
It introduced ImmBio to the highly respected China National Biotech Group and its corporate face Sinopharm, a Fortune 500 company and the largest pharmaceutical business in China.
The partners are developing TB vaccine technology for global markets with Sinopharm owning the rights to any licensing deals in China and Immbio in the rest of the world.
ImmBio is confident of extending the relationship to developing vaccines in other disease areas, such as flu, hepatitis, pneumonia and meningitis.
Link China is also working with a Cambridge based oncology drug development company that has targeted small molecule drug candidates and London-quoted life science company which has gene therapeutics technology that could benefit from an injection of Chinese expertise and resources through a co-development partnership.
TB is a major public health problem in China. China has the world’s second largest tuberculosis epidemic (after India), and of the 37 notifiable communicable diseases in China, TB ranks first in terms of notified cases and deaths.
Prevention of TB infection has become the Chinese government’s top priority infectious disease control initiative – underlining the importance of the ImmBio-CNBG alliance.
With well established China biopharma industry connections, China market knowledge and expertise, Link China is now working with not just local companies but UK and European clients keen to penetrate the Chinese market.
Marshall Ma said: “There are certain barriers to doing business in China but also wonderful opportunities for companies prepared to build a relationship of trust and develop attractive propositions with Chinese partners.
“People think of language barriers but other more pressing issues such as different business perception, business environment and cultural differences are also challenges but the rewards if you meet these challenges are potentially huge.
“The Chinese government and the market in general is very receptive to working with UK businesses – and life science is an important area for the Chinese government, which is keen to take a leading role in BioMedTech innovation.
“With the right strategies in place and following a correct approach, we are confident that they can always find good quality partners in China to enter into licensed partnership arrangement for UK and European life science companies. This will benefit companies in multiple ways by bringing in much needed financial income through negotiated tech transfer and licence fees and will reduce the risk exposure to technology companies by sharing the cost of the further co-development of the product(s).
“Also a successful China co-development partnership will speed up the development process and greatly increase efficiency. UK companies have to realise the opportunity and take advice on the risk, otherwise they will miss a massive chance of winning lucrative business in the world’s major market.
“There is only a tiny window of opportunity with some life science technologies and if you don’t recognise the opening and act on it you can lose that market forever.
“The interest we are seeing from UK companies seeking our help to get the approach right suggests that they are starting to realise what they may be missing.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Marshall Ma