Exclusive interview | BioTOP GM Li Yongmei: a nursery for innovative projects
As an emerging industry, bio-medicine needs all-around support to achieve a fast and prosperous development. That’ why X-BioTOP, a business incubator founded by Suzhou BioTOP Technical Service Co Ltd in SIP’s Suzhou Bio-medicine Industrial Park (SZBMIP) in 2017, has been trying its utmost to help startups with related promising technologies and products overcome the difficulties and eliminate potential risks.
When asked about the specific moves, BioTOP General Manager Li Yongmei boiled them down to “integrating resources and providing tailored services”.
Li is satisfied with the results under the year-end report, which, indicating that X-BioTOP has developed into a “provincial-level incubator”, records 29 incubation projects over the past one year.
In the interview, Li highlighted the following reasons for today’s achievements.
1.The right moment
X-BioTOP was formed two years after the State Council released the Guiding Opinions on Promoting Development of Maker Spaces for Mass Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which expounds on concept of maker spaces as “innovative platforms that provide professional services for mass innovation and business launch”.
“Maker spaces come out at the right moment, when mass innovation prevails across the country. For the bio-medicine startups, the incubation services should be targeted as well as extended from the early-stage support to later industrialization,” Li said.
Under such a circumstance, X-BioTOP was built into a service-oriented public incubator based on BioTOP’s existing resources, including working spaces, hardware, technology, human resources, market operations and advantageous public service platforms.
2.Focus on very early-stage incubation
The Bio-medicine industry, hailed as a “sunrise industry”, is expected to become one of the major growth poles for the economic development in the country. It features high technological threshold, long investment cycle, large potential risks but high added value. Many startups engaged in this field are faced with capital, talent and equipment shortages. Considering that, X-BioTOP has set a clear goal since its inception: to focus on very early-stage incubation.
Compared with many incubators of similar kind, X-BioTOP has unique advantages.
One is the support of BioTOP, an independent third-party analysis and testing service supplier with CNAS resources, laboratories managed based on GMP criteria as well as various value-added services such as logistics and training services.
Another advantage is location in BioBAY, a national top-class bio-medicine cluster and technology innovation center with over 10 years’ experience in overall project incubation and startup guidance.
“Over the past 11 years, BioBAY has formed a unique ecosystem that has attracted many projects to it. This provides X-BioTOP with more opportunities to introduce good projects,” Li said. She believes that relevant national policy incentives and the participation of different capitals contribute a lot to that.
3.One-stop tailored services
“X-BioTOP is a nursery for innovative projects. Integrated resources can help promising projects grow up as soon as possible.” Li said.
She gave the example of Suzhou Xinxu Medicine Co Ltd, which was set up by Dr. Zhang Mingkui in 2017 to develop new drugs and diagnostic products against Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases.
“It is a typical case in X-BioTOP. We provide all-around support to help the company acquire the capital, facility and human resources that they need. It received the honor of ‘Leading High-Tech Project’ at the recent 11th SIP High-Tech Business Award Ceremony,” Li said.
Li started to devote herself to helping the Chinese innovative enterprises seek a fast development after she left Wyeth eleven years ago. Since then, she has been doing her bit in promoting the country’s economic development to transform from a manufacturing-based mode to an innovation-based one.
“I have benefited a lot from the development of the medicine industry. Now it is time for me to pay back,” she said as mentioning her career change.
Li said BioTOP and X-BioTOP offer her opportunities to make her dream come true. She and her team select the projects through a well-designed evaluation system based on indicators such as advantages and market potential of technologies, team performance and planning, and then provide the selected projects with one-stop services covering business registration, auditing, financing, equipment leasing and public platform access.
“I hope that X-BioTOP will have a strong development over the next three to five years so that it will be able to shorten the incubation cycle by one or two years.”