Medidata Blog

The Opportunities and Challenges for the Chinese Life Sciences Industry

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We published an article on the ecosystem for life science innovation in China on MedidataVoice in Forbes this week, and there is plenty more to cover. China, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, is for obvious reasons a huge potential market for life sciences companies.

With the population aging rapidly (China’s population aged over 65 is expected to grow to 26.8 percent of the total population by 2050, up from 9.1 percent in 2012) combined with a rise in chronic deceases, as well as a growing middle class that is looking for more access to health care both in traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, there are many reasons to see this as a growing market.

For the Chinese life sciences industry the changes are exciting and visible. More Chinese companies seek export opportunities or are developing drugs for a growing domestic market. A study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2014 indicated that changes in basic medical insurance and private health insurance with drive up demand for care, which will be a big driver for Chinese life sciences companies.

According to the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) there were over 500 active clinical studies requiring patients in studies in China in 2014. Of course there are challenges as well. Access to qualified talent to support innovation, the CFDA approval process to start studies or get new drugs approved takes relatively long, a reimbursement process that is somewhat opaque and the dependencies of reliable Internet access with China’s Great Internet Firewall all impact life sciences companies trying to succeed in China.

Jacob Angevine