This is a preview of Periscope—a weekly report by KrASIA, delving into China’s industries and markets. We discuss a different space each week and include highlights of relevant top stories. If you would like to read the report in full and gain access to our library, please click here.
In Part 1, we covered many aspects of China’s vaccine industry—its supply and demand, market characteristics, challenges, and risks. To carry that forward, we now shift our attention to the industry’s future—new developments, trends, and prospects that provide clues to what the vaccine industry will look like in the coming years.
4. Emerging vaccine startups and promising sub-verticals in post-pandemic China
4.1. SARS-CoV-2: China’s once-in-a-century opportunity to vault ahead
There are three major hurdles when it comes to developing vaccines: long research cycles, high costs, and low success rates. It is common knowledge in China’s pharmaceutical industry that it usually takes USD 2 billion plus 20 years of research to formulate a new vaccine. Consequently, the global pharmaceutical industry induces an oligopoly vaccine market dominated by US and Europe pharmas. Only behemoths like Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and Pfizer have the financial clout to invest in expensive vaccine research as well as the commercialization power to capture the market. In contrast, younger vaccine innovators in China simply lack the resources to do the same.
But the emergence of COVID-19 has upended that situation. Now, China’s vaccine developers might just have a chance to overcome these difficulties. According to The NewYork Times, more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines are under development around the world.Among them, 12 have entered Phase III clinical trials, including five that are from Chinese companies—a rare sight in contemporary biomedical research.
That leads us to a fundamental question: how has China come this far so quickly?
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