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Nation Puts More Stress on Drug Discoveries

China is expected to become the world's second largest medicine market by 2020 as more joint efforts will be conducted with foreign drug firms to enhance its own research and development on drug discoveries.


In 2004, the global sales revenue of medicine reached US$500 billion while the domestic medicine industry generated US$42.8 billion.


The Chinese pharmaceutical industry has maintained an average sales growth of 15 percent since 1979 against 7 percent globally in 2004. In addition, the profit of domestic pharmaceutical makers increased 11.7 percent last year to 30.6 billion yuan (US$3.78 billion).


"China will continue to increase its spending on medicine R&D and drug discovery in the 11th five-year plan which starts next year," said Wang Mingwei, professor at the National Center for Drug Screening, yesterday.


"Biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine would be core sectors and as they are fledging sectors, we would like to increase our own R&D capability through more cooperation with foreign counterparts," Wang said.


Last year, domestic pharmaceutical makers produced around 25 billion yuan (US$3.09 billion) worth of medicines using biotechnology, up 20 percent from a year earlier.


The center has also sealed its first 50:50 research agreement with the world's No. 1 life science research firm, Invitrogen Corporation, to accelerate drug discoveries.


The two sides will contribute a total of 10 million yuan (US$1.23 million) within six months from December 1 on more than 100,000 assays.


(Shanghai Daily November 1, 2005)


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