Innovent provides new mode for Chinese biopharmaceutical enterprises
Biological medicine presents the latest achievements of the human life science. Nowadays, the medicine technology is developing toward biologic medicine, and the world powers are devoted to boasting the leading biopharmaceutical industry.
Innovent Biologics (Innovent), a biopharmaceutical company in Suzhou, China, with more than six-year history, has frequently raised the world’s high attention to the Chinese biopharmaceutical industry.
McKinsey & Company is a worldwide consulting firm, having insight into the strategic emerging industries in the world. Its released report is authoritative, affecting both the stock K-line chart and the leading industries all over the world. It once released a report on “Eight Innovation Milestones of China's Biopharmaceutical Industry”, and among them, half of innovations are attributed to Innovent.
As a “Unicorn” enterprise in China, Innovent was founded by Dr. Yu Dechao, a distinguished expert of “National 1000 Talents Program” in 2011.
Innoven has been reported by many influential media at home and abroad including People’s Daily, CCIV, The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. The dozens of reports all mentioned “Innovent demonstrates that Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises have huge potation and China is developing toward the world’ leading position in biopharmaceutical industry.
The innovation is based on the international flourishing industries and the needs of ordinary people.
On January 8, 2018, People’s Daily published an article called The Anticipated Major Science and Technologies in 2018, where a total of seven sciences and technologies including Lunar exploration program, Beidou satellite, immunotherapy, nuclear power technology are listed. When Mr. Wang, a patient with lymphoma living in Jinting Town, Suzhou, read the article and saw “IBI308, PD-1 monoclonal antibody for tumor immunotherapy discovered by Innovent is expected to enter into market in 2018. It is a new drug for treatment of malignant tumor including lymphoma”, he was excited. The PD-1 monoclonal antibody brings bright for the patients, and showcases Chinese pharmaceutical enterprise makes a key step to the top of the pyramid in biopharmaceutical industry.
Immunotherapy is a new therapy for the treatment of cancer, following surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It makes a bold scientific vision-cancer is a controllable and treatable chronic disease- come true. In 2013, immunotherapy was top of the Breakthrough of the Year issued by Science.
PD-1 monoclonal antibody is recognized as the most advanced drug in immunotherapy. According to technology content and R& D difficulty, chemical medicine and biologic drug can be equivalent to bike and plane respectively. It is clear that monoclonal antibody can be equivalent to fighter plane.
According to Ye, as the production base of Innovent only was drawn an outline on the paper, we had determined our goal in drug innovation, namely “PD-1 monoclonal antibody is our main development goal”
At that time, many people casted doubt on their goal because six years ago, the discovery of monoclonal antibody was still in initial stage in the United States with advance biopharmaceutical enterprises , so it was a more huge challenge for China with poor foundation in biopharmaceutical industry. Some companies believed their goal was incredible, and even their directors of the board were full of anxiety, fear of failing to the plan and the loss of investment funds.
But Yu said firmly, “We stick to our goal no matter how difficult we encounter because innovation should be based on the international flourishing industries and the needs of ordinary people.”
“Let Chinese patients use high-quality biomedicines”, which is not only the initial purpose of Yu founding company, but also the driving force to make him go forward and overcome difficulties. In the interview, Yu noted, “in recent years, every common tumor has 1-5 corresponding approval biologic drugs in the market in the United States, increasing the average five-year survival rate of patients to 70%. However, the survival rate is less than 30% in China. In terms of patients’ accessibility to biologic drugs, China is behind Philippines, showing it is seriously incompatible with China as the second largest economy in the world.
After his six-year efforts, he notched up significant achievement in new drug discovery. In 2017, nearly 400 patients participate in the clinic trial of IBI308.among them, Li Ke’er, a young gild in Shandong was first patient who suffered from lymphoma and failed to chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation to be cured in the clinic trial, and she is now going to get married. The clinic trail is still going on, and more patients will usher in a new life like Li Ke’er. As patients and their families extend their heartfelt thanks to Yu, he said, eyes with tears, “It is survival patients that makes me feel all my efforts are not in vain”
Only sticking to international standard can we boasts broader market in the world.
“The only standard that Innovent upholds is international standard”. Since its inception, Innovent made such a rule and followed it in every work link.
“A team consisting of international talents is the prerequisite for innovation.”” Innovent has been recruiting senior talents in the word. Currently, its team boasts more than 500 members, four of whom are distinguished experts of “National 1000 Talents Program” and more than 50 of whom are experts back from overseas with ten-year experience in pharmaceutical industry. More than a third of these members hold a MS degree or Ph.D. Yu told the reporter, "Now I spend nearly half of my energy and time on global recruitment. The only thing I did on the New Year's holiday in 2018 was to fly between China and the United States to find talents”
Yu is one of the most advanced and fruitful scientists in the world's biopharmaceutical industry. He is the only scientist in China to discover two approval new drugs (belong to State Category I). He discovered Oncorine, the world’s first drug used for tumor immunotherapy, blazing a trail in treating cancer with virus. He also first discovered a monoclonal antibody product with global independent intellectual property rights, called Conbercept, meaning blindness caused by ocular fundus disease can be cured in China.
The rule Yu made for company is gained from his ten-year experience in biopharmaceutical industry, demonstrating his international awareness as an entrepreneur.
Although sticking to the rule needs high cost, it makes Innovent garner abroad international market.
In 2015, as the first biopharmaceutical enterprise in China to cooperate with foreign enterprises, Innovent signed two strategic agreements valued at $3.3 billion with Eli Lilly and Company, making its name in the international market
Why did Eli Lilly and Company, a giant in medicine choose Innovent to be its partner from the thousands of hundreds of biopharmaceutical start-ups in the world? The reason was that at that time, Eli Lilly and Company was researching PD-1 monoclonal antibody and its R & D team found Innovent had strong points in related research, so Eli Lilly and Company and Innovent carried out negotiations more than 10 times in the next two years
In 2014, Yu, together with executives went to the United States and was confident they could sign a strategic agreement with Eli Lilly and Company, but they failed.
Eli Lilly and Company said, the pipeline of Innovent conformed to the standards of China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it still had few gaps with their requirements, and was required to improve pipeline in the next four years.
It meant that Innovent would spend much money and time for an uncertain agreement. But Yu said without hesitation, “we are willing to improve our pipeline, and make it reach your standard in half the time you required”. As a result, Innovent completed the task within 18 months only, receiving high praise of Eli Lilly and Company.
Since then, Innovent started to enter international market. In 2016, it raised $ 262 million in D series financing, accounting for 20 % of total financing funds gained by Chinese biopharmaceutical enterprises. The financing led by Future Industry Investment Fund, is considered as a vane of international high quality capital promoting the innovation and development of Chinese biomedicines.”
If one enterprise wants to be a leader from a follower or a competitor in its industry, it is necessary to construct a health industrial ecosystem. Chinese biopharmaceutical industry is now at a good time than ever before.
Innovent has been discovering the affordable biomedicines with high quality, committed to be a leading biopharmaceutical company in China and event in the world. Currently, it boasts a pipeline which can manufacture 13 new drugs. Based on the cooperation with Eli Lilly and Company, Innovent has gained profits and paid tax with more than RMB 200 million in the case of no approval products. Innovent provides a new development mode for Chinese biopharmaceutical enterprises.
If one enterprise wants to be a leader from a follower or a competitor in its industry, it must construct a health industrial ecosystem.” Yu is now popular in biopharmaceutical industry in China and other countries. Based on his influence in the industry, he, on the one hand, promote the domestic biopharmaceutical enterprises to establish a health ecosystem for their innovation and development, on the other hand, seizes opportunity to show the world the innovations Chinese biopharmaceutical enterprises have made.
In March 2014, Yu, together with 22 academicians from the China Academy of Engineering, submitted a report on “seizing the strategic opportunity to determine the technical guiding principles of biomedicines” to the State Council. Soon the State Council gave a response and agreed to found a special office to assist the draft of biological drug laws and regulations. In the same year, Innovent participated in the draft, review and final version for China Biological Drugs Laws and Regulations
Currently, Chinese government strengthens top-layer design to promote innovation in biopharmaceutical industry. On November 16, 2017, as Yu participated in the 16th Morgan Stanley 16th Annual Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore, he was the only one Chinese entrepreneur to be invited by CNBC, a world's leading financial media, to do an exclusive interview. In the interview, Yu expressed his confidence in Chinese pharmaceutical industry, saying the Chinese government has recently carried on substantial reforms in pharmaceutical industry, so domestic pharmaceutical enterprises strive to create new drugs and move closer to international standards in such an unprecedented opportunity.