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    Innovent Biologics: To Be "Huawei" in Chinese Bio-Medical Industry


    From Palo Alto, the Silicon Valley enclave to Jinji Lake, Innovent Biologics practices its innovative dream in "B Village", always with creed of "Start with Integrity, Succeed by Action". It can be said that the word of "innovation" has been deeply fused into the ideas and actions for each Innovent person. Innovent Biologics wins the millions of capitals relied on innovation, also wins the cooperation capital of America pharmaceutical manufacturing about $ 3.3 billion, and Series D financing once again creates new record. Although, numerous No. 1 has been label on Innovent Biologics, how far is the Innovent Biologics' giant dream in the journey moving award the world peak? With four questions about innovation, let us enter into Innovent Biologics and make dialogues with leaders of it.
     
    In the world's bio-medical field, Yu Dechao, founder of Innovent Biologics Inc. of Suzhou, is definitely a big person within the field.
     
    In 2006, he invented the novel drug of Oncorine which made virus to cure tumors, an industry first.
     
    In 2013, he developed the novel drug of Conbercept that could made blinds caused by fundus diseases see light again, which made up the domestic blank.
     
    In 2015, six kinds of anti-tumor novel drugs developed by Innovent Biologics own led by him, which received the favor of Eli Lily, the world's pharmaceutical giant. Eli Lily would like to spend $ 3.3 billion on purchasing the oversea manufacturing and marketing, which realized the zero-breakthrough of Chinese biopharma drug sold in oversea.
     
    Currently, the innovative competence and innovative achievements of scientific research team led by Yu Dechao have attracted high attention in field. And Yu Dechao has definite objects: developing the high-quality biopharma drugs available for Chinese common people; making "Huawei" in Chinese bio-medical field. In 2016, Innovent Biologics founded by him, relied on innovation, won millions of capitals of international investment institution, which created the financing history in Chinese pharmaceutical field, and formed the new formation that uses global capitals to support innovation.
     
    The Thirteenth Party Congress closed not long ago, which sounded the call of "gathering strength to innovate, focusing on the rich, comprehensively establishing well-off society with high levels". And focusing on innovative orientation, innovative measures, and realizing routes of Innovent Biologics, which may open a road for the transformation of Suzhou's "four innovative questions".
     
    A piece of eye-catching transcript:
    The original drug was sold at an international price of $ 3.3 billion
     
    There are many famous enterprises gathering in Nano Industrial Park, Suzhou Industrial Park. Innovent Biologics that constantly shocks the world's pharmaceutical field is one of those enterprises. In 2013, when the Conbercept invented and developed led by Yu Dechao came onto the market, it shocked the world's pharmaceutical industry at once. Conbercept is a kind of novel drug which aims to cure the age-related macular degeneration. Before, the similar drugs are always monopolized by America. More importantly, Conbercept is the first innovative biopharma drug of ophthalmology led by Chinese enterprise, leadingly developed by Chinese specialists, and becomes the international general name for the first biological product possessing completely independent intellectual property right, which makes up the blank. After Conbercept came onto the market, its advantage increasingly appears: currently, the Conbercept accounts for 52% in domestic market, which directly forces the imported similar drugs to initiatively mark down for market reasons. As you can imagine its competitiveness. In the eleventh American Angiogenesis Annual Meeting, Conbercept was consistently approved by 300 present global top specialists of fundus diseases. Philp Rosenfeld, chairman of the meeting said, "This is an important time! Please pay attention to the strength from China. Conbercept is the first high-end biopharma drug except for America."
     
    While interviewed by the reporter, Yu Dechao just came back from Beijing, rushed to distribute all works on hand, he handed on one piece of transcript to the reporter: currently, Innovent Biologics has established a product chain including 12 kinds of novel drugs that cover four fields as tumor, fundus diseases, autoimmune disease, and cardiovascular disease. Among which, two kinds have been in the national "Mega Innovative Drug Program", five kinds have been in clinical trials, and three kinds have been in phase III. The original achievements of Innovent Biologics have been approved by international market. In 2015, Innovent and Eli Lilly signed two strategic collaboration agreements for the development of products, which Innovent transferred the oversea market of four kinds of innovative products to Eli Lilly with $ 3.3 billion down payment and milestone payment. This was a major milestone in the development of Chinese pharmaceutical industry, and created numerous No.1 in China: the first Chinese enterprise that granted the international market of innovative biopharma drugs to the world's 500 pharmaceutical manufacturing groups, and also the international collaboration with largest amount in Chinese pharmaceutical field till now. The first time make our Chinese invented original drugs sold with international price; the success of collaboration showed that the innovative level and innovative achievements of Innovent Biologics got the international approval. Meanwhile, this is also the first Chinese enterprise to make an overall collaboration from R&D, registration, production to marketing of high-end biopharma drugs with global 500 enterprises, which shows that the R&D technologies, quality standard and innovative competence of Innovent have achieved the international advanced level, and its products have faced with the international market.
     
    One practice route: innovation from origin
    To get Chinese No.1 needs long-term advantages 
     
    "The main reason for the backward of Chinese bio-medical industry is no innovation, the quality standard can not achieve the international standard." Yu Dechao openly said. The initial starting point and orientation of Innovent Biologics are very high, who will lead the Chinese bio-medical field, and strengthen the R&D of original biopharma drugs. Based on innovation, Innovent Biologics focuses on investment of scientific researches, spends much cost to introduce a group of international first-class talents, and concentrates to research and develop innovative high-end biopharma drugs. Thus, the original innovative quality of Innovent Biologics is pulled up. Currently, the collaboration of Innovent Biologics and Eli Lilly is extremely indicative.
     
    To answer the "original achievements" and "leading role" in the "four questions on innovation", we need to answer the practice route of "how to be Chinese No.1". Absolutely, Innovent Biologics has given one answer. "Collaborating with foreigners, they will not see your identities, they will only see whether your products good or not. If your products are good, they will initiatively find you." Yu Dechao said. American Eli Lilly is a world's advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing company with 140-year history. During the process of collaboration between Innovent and Eli Lilly, Eli Lilly will make site auditing of Innovent Biologics' R&D competence and industrialized bases pipeline, and also make duty investigation. At that time, in order to avoid the problems of originality of R&D and compliance, Eli Lilly sent investigation team with 157 people to investigate Innovent Biologics for three times. Finally, Innovent Biologics smoothly passed the Eli Lilly's comprehensive check. When Eli Lilly went back with the innovative achievements, making sample comparison with the best drugs in America, they found that the new drugs developed in Innovent Biologics were more than 100 times of American drugs' efficiency. Therefore, they decided to invest and collaborate with Innovent.
     
    For the importance of original innovation, Yu Dechao introduced that, with the initial success of R&D of new drugs, Innovent Biologics also increasingly got attention and approval of domestic and abroad investment institutions. In January, 2015, Innovent Biologics successfully finished the Series C financing with $ 115 million. This time of financing was together finished by some new investors as Legend Capital, Temasek, etc. and some existing investors as American Fidelity, Lilly Asian, Frontline Bioventures, etc. For the reason to be favored by investment institutions, Cai Daqing, executive director of Legend Capital showed that, before investment, they had made a comprehensive investigation on new kinds of drugs, developing ability, products' quality, and manufacturing plants of Innovent Biologics. The result of investigation showed that Innovent Biologics featured high-level R&D team, whose core team members had worked in some international top pharmaceutical enterprises as Amgen, Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Abbott, Roche, etc. so that they had rich experiences in the R&D of high-end biopharma drugs. And Innovent Biologics also had pipeline of good prospects, and manufacturing plants suitable for international standard.
     
    They believed that Innovent Biologics was of great potency in antibody drugs. In November, 2011, Innovent Biologics once again successfully finished Series D financing with 26 million. This time of financing was led by a Future Industry Investment Fund (FIIF), a private equity (PE) fund managed by SDIC Fund Management Corp. Ltd., a subsidiary of State Development & Investment Corp., the largest state-owned investment holding company in China. New investors included China Life Private Equity Ltd., Milestone, Ping An and Taikang Insurance Group. This was not only the largest financing in Chinese pharmaceutical industry, also the second financing bill in global in 2016. Yu Dechao said, it was the powerful innovative competence of Innovent Biologics that made international institutions frequently invest millions of capitals into it, and also the key point to strike after the enemy.
     
    One question: how to conquer a higher peak
    Enterprises need soil and environment for innovation
     
    An unknown Suzhou pharmaceutical enterprise, after short five-year development, which has created numerous "Chinese No.1" and achieves the height that domestic enterprises need more than one decade or several decades to achieve. There are few enterprises like this in China. "I initially choose to make Innovent Biologics settle down in Suzhou, not only for the charisma of this ancient city, but also the good environment and numerous talents in Suzhou." Yu Dechao said. The center of the development of innovative driving is the development of talents. Currently, Innovent has introduced a great number of international talents, possessing a group member of nearly 400 people. 10% are overseas returnees, four are specialists of "thousand-talents-scheme"; about 95% have university degree or above, among who there are 37 doctors and 187 graduates. Yu Dechao honestly said that, in order to attract overseas returnees, they adopted American salary system that also provided a certain share for R&D and managing people besides salary. Besides, the salary of core talents was much higher than that of America. Deducing the living cost and forming the "talents enclave", making talents stay in Suzhou was the problem to be solved for Suzhou's deducing the innovative cost. Recently, with the promotion of house price, and the increasing of living cost, the advantage to attract innovative talents for Suzhou increasing has faded out, which brings serious challenge for the development of enterprises.
     
    Deducing the R&D cost and promoting innovative speed, which is another problem needed to be solved for deducing enterprises' innovative cost. "If enterprises' innovative cost is higher than the cost of America or some other places, they will lose their own competitiveness." Yu Dechao said. The R&D of innovative drugs is not only of high investment and high risks, its cycle is also very long. Only by selling drugs, enterprises can get reasonable rewards and have driving force and competence for constant innovation. Because part of basic materials that biological manufacturing R&D needs can not be produced in domestic, Chinese biological manufacturing enterprises must import some important equipment as medium, reagent, cell, etc. Thus, if doing the same R&D project, after adding up tax, the direct R&D cost of Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises is 23%-25% higher than that of America. The most expensive is time cost, due to the restriction of numerous approval processes, the equipment and materials only require several days in America to be delivered into China while it requires several months in China, which sharply pulls down the efficiency of enterprises' R&D. Under the premise of fair competiveness, when government purchase, can we optimally choose a group of "seeding enterprises" with innovative competence and proprietary brands to help enterprises overcome the survival crisis in initial stage? Yu Dechao took an example to explain that, currently, if innovative drugs wanted to be promoted and applied, they must firstly enter into medical insurance, and pass biddings and insurance contributions, otherwise it is difficult for these drugs to come onto the market. According to statistics, the innovative drugs come onto the market every year, the majority of which is sold worse. And amount of sales of less drugs can achieve 100 million, thus it is also difficult for enterprises to bring benefits, which causes innovation deficiency and the prominence of generic medicines in a great extent. Yu Dechao suggested that, for new drugs can come onto the market, whether they can be included into medical insurance with priority or not, and be increasingly promoted forward in the whole province or the whole country.
     
    Yu Dechao showed that, for enterprises like Innovent Biologics that wanted to be "Chinese No.1" or "world's No.1", besides the internal driving force of enterprises, government not only need to remove obstacles, lower the barriers, and promote service efficiency; but also need to fully respect economic laws, not participating or intervening, trying to deduce taxes for enterprises, giving enterprises to market to develop that makes enterprises really play the leading role of market.  
     
    Quotations
     
    "Developing high-quality biopharma drugs available for Chinese common people", and "making the best bio-medical manufacturing company in China". In 2011, Innovent was born originating from this belief. Five years on, this belief has become more solid and obvious with the development of Innovent Biologics. This belief, attracting known ventures in domestic and abroad; attracting the high-level talents from all over the world to build a team up to international advanced level; this belief even gets the identification and supports of various governments. The road moving forward the dream that is full of brambles and barriers. However, people of Innovent Biologics, with own tenacity, brevity and persistence, overcome the numerous difficulties and steadily move forward, and shorten the distance with idea. Start with Integrity, Succeed by Action.
     
    Looking backward the coming journey, with laughter and tears, success is with hardship. In the journey of future, moving forward with feet on the ground. Wish more and more sympathetic partners to go along with Innovent Biologics, and together explore the new era for Chinese bio-medical industry.    
     
    Source: Suzhou Evening News



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