Beijing advances in high-tech R&D and innovation

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In a significant move to take the lead in critical scientific fields, Beijing has established several advanced R&D institutions focusing on areas like quantum science, brain science, artificial intelligence, and applied mathematics. These institutions have been instrumental in incubating over 30 hard technology companies.

"Hard technology" refers to key and core technology that requires long-term research and development and continuous efforts and investment. It mainly includes areas such as artificial intelligence, aerospace, biotechnology, information technology, new energy, and smart manufacturing.

The Chinese Institute for Brain Research (Beijing), founded in 2018, is at the forefront of brain science research. It has adopted a dual approach to transform scientific findings into market-ready applications that benefit the public. The institute encourages scientists to commercialize their research, resulting in startups like GenAns Biotech, which develops innovative treatments for neurological diseases.

Yu Tao, deputy general manager of GenAns Biotech, shared a breakthrough in treating blindness: a new light-sensitive protein discovered in birds could potentially restore sight in humans. 

Traditionally, drug development requires an investment of US$1 billion and a development period of over 10 years. However, GenAns Biotech has significantly accelerated this process, producing drugs that meet quality standards within a year and completing the first administration to a completely blind patient this January, according to Yu.  

At the Chinese Institute for Brain Research (Beijing), scientists and doctors collaborate with local hospitals to translate research into clinical practice. Guided by clinical scenarios, they have established labs within the institute, facilitating the application of disruptive technologies to improve treatment outcomes, said Zhang Zegong, the institute's deputy director.

In addition, NeuCyber NeuroTech, another company incubated by the Chinese Institute for Brain Research (Beijing), has focused on two major development paths for invasive brain-computer interface technologies, achieving remarkable breakthroughs.

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