Under its Vaccine Supply System Development Plan, the current version of which runs to 2015, China is encouraging development of production processes with proprietary intellectual property rights. By offering support China hopes to equip domestic producers to meet the nation’s vaccine needs.
“It is clear from the plan that the Chinese government intends to create a favourable environment for the growth and development of China’s domestic vaccine industry and to achieve self-reliance in the supply of vaccines”, law firm Sidley Austin LLP said.
Strengthening production capabilities will move the government closer to its goal of making China the primary producer of vaccines it regularly uses and those for urgent needs. As well as encouraging development of production processes, China is supporting creation of new strains and technologies.
In mergers and acquisitions involving Chinese vaccine companies the government will take steps to protect key technologies and production capacities. Also, in urgent situations, the government will encourage in-licensing of technologies and importation of raw materials and equipment.
Efforts to boost local vaccine production come at a time when macroeconomic factors threaten to eat away at the cost advantage currently enjoyed by China-based pharmaceutical manufacturers.
“China’s cost advantage has been eroded by inflation, rising wages, currency appreciation and challenges to the many tax reductions and rebates that China has traditionally offered to its own exporters”, property firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said in its report into life sciences clusters.
Recognising these factors the Chinese government is investing to strengthen the industry. New good manufacturing practices (GMP) aim to raise quality standards and efforts to attract expatriates back to China are bolstering the workforce.
“China no longer has to be viable as a low-cost destination in order to attract industry interest and investment. Certainly, the outlook for life sciences in this immense and growing economy is good”, JLL said.