Chinese Investment in US Biotech Surpasses Records
Chinese investors have poured more money into the US biotech market in the first six months of 2018 than they did in the entirety of last year. This massive bump in investment is indicative of the focus that Chinese companies currently have on biotech, and has contributed to US biotech investments rounds totalling $5.1B, a dramatic increase from last year’s total of $4B.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth,” Kitty Lee, a Partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman, told The Financial Times. “You can’t forget how much the Chinese government is pushing biotech as a strategic industry and trying to build up the industry to become competitive globally. A natural part of that is investing.”
It’s been estimated that direct investment from Chinese venture capital firms into the US reached $46B in 2016, something which has alarmed officials in Washington DC. In response, several deals involving sensitive technologies were blocked, and the Trump Administration proposed (and later dropped) a plan to implement new limitations on Chinese investments into US companies. Despite the contention, however, the Chinese interest in US biotech has gone largely unnoticed, a status that many people do not believe will continue for long.
“Thus far the sector has not been a big focus of the US-China dialogue around technology, however, that story is still being written,” Vikram Kapur, a Partner at consultancy Bain, told FT.
The interest in China has been particularly focused on pharma, allowing drugs that have been developed and produced in the US to be brought to Chinese patients. “The promise of being able to bring drugs to market in the second largest pharma market in the world, at the same time as they would come to market in the US is a big part of the value proposition,” said Mr Kapur.
With an ongoing dispute between Chinese authorities and the Trump Administration regarding trade between the two countries, it is still unclear as to whether Chinese investment will be allowed to continue this growth uncontested.