Bringing Together Innovation & Investment in Suzhou: CBIIC 2019


On 21 September 2019, the China Pharmaceutical International Innovation and Research Development Association (PhIRDA), officially inaugurated the 4th China Biomed International Innovation Conference (CBIIC), at the Suzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center near the gorgeous Jinji Lake in the middle of the Suzhou Industrial Park.


The 4th CBIIC was jointly organized by the China Association for Medical Device Industry (CAMDI), the China Hospital Association, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Research and Development International, as a platform for international cooperation and development within the global pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Inscribed in bold letters on the pillars flanking the stage were the words ‘innovation’ and ‘investment’, highlighting the two core topics of the conference.


The opening ceremony on Day 1 included a rather international and diverse line-up of global industry stakeholders, from Chinese government regulators, local industry leaders from both traditional Chinese pharma and biotechs, as well as global investors. Divided into regulatory, biotech and capital segments, Day 1 reflected the paramount interests of attendees at the conference.


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Incoming PhIRDA Chairman 2020-2021 and Chairman of Simcere Pharmaceutical Group REN Jinsheng kicked things off by thanking all honoured guests and attendees for taking the time to join the conference on a Saturday.


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PhIRDA Executive President SONG Ruilin also took to the stage to officially thank everyone present.


Following that, National People’s Congress Education, Science, Culture & Health Committee Vice-Chairman and Chinese Hospital Association President LIU Qian, and Suzhou Vice-Mayor LU Chunyun delivered their thanks and welcomes to the conference. In particular, Suzhou Vice-Mayor Lu shared the long 2,500 history of the city, which is also the 7th largest city within China when it comes to economic size, and emphasized the importance of the biopharmaceutical industry to the city, with over 3,000 companies generating a total industry value of CNY 100 billion (USD 1.4 billion).


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25 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai, the Suzhou Industrial Park is home to many of the country’s most enterprising and successful biotech companies, including Innovent Biologics, CStone Pharmaceuticals, Junshi Biosciences and so on, not to mention the R&D and manufacturing facilities of many pharmaceutical multinationals. PhIRDA Executive President Song Ruilin took the occasion to sign a strategic 10-year partnership with the Suzhou Industrial Park Managing Committee Director Ding Lixin, pledging to continue to work together to drive the development of the Chinese biopharma industry.


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With National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) Department of Policies and Regulations Director-General LIU Pei delivered an in-depth keynote speech on the recent changes to the Pharmaceutical Administration Law and its expected impact on the Chinese pharma industry. In particular, she highlighted the main changes as well as stressed the work that has gone into the revisions, emphasizing that the regulator has listened extensively to industry feedback. She added, the changes to the Pharmaceutical Administration Law reflected a few years of hard work, and they will continue to listen to and evolve with the industry.


After that came a spirited panel discussion between Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Chairman CHEN Qiyu, Beigene President and China GM WU Xiaobin, and China Pharmaceutical University Research Center of National Drug Policy and Ecosystem Vice-Executive Director Professor SHAO Rong, with PhIRDA President Song moderating.


The highest representative from the global pharma industry was LIU Yongjun, Global Head of Research for Sanofi, who delivered a highly fascinating presentation on the translation of human immunobiology to life-changing medicines, highlighting the importance of ‘going with your gut’ – meaning trusting your instincts and experience when it comes to translating science into innovative medicines.


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J.P. Morgan Healthcare Investment Banking Managing Director John Whittaker was up next, delivering a speech on the trends and developments within the global healthcare investment landscape, with special emphasis on the US and China, with some informative slides as props. Many cameras could be seen popping up from the audience to capture the figures quickly.


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The attractiveness of the China healthcare industry can be seen from the congregation of high-level executives from the world’s top stock markets. HKEX Chief Executive Charles L actually delivered a keynote speech as well centred on the importance of Big Data to the future of the industry and his ambitions for HKEX to be at the forefront of the use of Big Data in healthcare, bringing together Big Medicine, Big Healthcare and Big Data. This was followed by a lively panel with representatives from NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange, HKEX and Shanghai Stock Exchange, all jostling to position their stock exchanges as the best IPO location for an aspiring innovative biotech.


Fitting for a conference focusing on innovation, the afternoon was dedicated to scientific presentations by some of the most innovative biotech companies in the country, who took the opportunity to present some of their latest clinical trial results.


With over 700 pharma companies, 500+ investment institutions and a whopping 3,500+ conference participants in total, the 4th CBIIC was clearly a resounding success and PhIRDA is already inviting participants for the 5th CBIIC in Suzhou from September 27-29 2020.

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