This week, the Process Development Forum talks with Günter Jagschies, Strategic Customer Relations Leader, GE Healthcare, about the biopharmaceutical market in Asia.
The Asian market is most often still considered an emerging market for biopharmaceuticals. However, the Asian market is not a fully homogeneous market. What is your perception, and what is the current state in the respective areas/countries?
Indeed, I would agree that the situation in various Asian countries is very different, and so is the business culture. Asia has a complex mix of economies from low to high income with a largely varying degree of access for the population to biotherapeutic drugs on the high end of the price range as well as even to the much cheaper class of vaccines. Korea, Japan, and Singapore, in particular, have a well-established biopharma industry with development and manufacturing capabilities that compete with businesses in North America or Europe at eye level. India and China have a strongly growing and well-funded biopharmaceutical industry focusing primarily on biosimilar proteins with several hundred projects in the pipeline. India is also in a leading position for vaccine manufacturing for global supply. Other countries in Asia are still in the early stage of developing a biopharmaceutical industry.
What specific challenges do you find that these markets and companies face? What discussion topics do you usually have when you interact with Asian biopharmaceutical producers?
The sheer number of patients to be supplied with therapeutics and vaccines, often with insufficient support from health insurance, for example, and dependent on very low cost offerings for their medication is an immense challenge. Competition, in particular in the biosimilars field, is fierce to say the least with around 100 companies looking at the same short list of about ten different drugs. The economics of manufacturing including ways to efficiently set up manufacturing facilities is thus always a topic of discussion with Asian companies. I also often get involved in discussing business plans and ways to differentiate in such competitive environments. Finally, everywhere in Asia the availability of skilled staff and management, and once employed, the fluctuation of staff over time is a hot topic for Asian biopharma businesses.
You are part of the organization committee for the 3rd BioProcessing Asia conference, which has been announced to take place 12-15th of November 2018 on Langkawi, Malaysia. What are some specific topics you think will be in focus and you look forward to during that conference?
We have a fantastic team of Scientific Advisors who are supporting us in developing the conference and selecting topics and speakers or poster presenters and I am convinced we will get a very good and intense dialogue between the participants from East and West. Specific topics will be the review of health challenges in Asia and future approaches to address them, creative technology solutions, facility and regulatory aspects, as well as vaccines and plasma derived products. I expect an exciting level of discussions and debate over those topics and look forward to meeting some of the leading scientists and managers from Asia, Australia and Western biopharma businesses at BPA 2018. I am really looking forward to hearing about innovative new manufacturing technology and about the evolving regulatory landscape in Asia.
The conference has now opened up for registration and abstract submission.