BioBay: Using support to bring innovation home




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Video title: BioBay: Using support to bring innovation home
Released on: October 30, 2009. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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In this interview filmed at BioPharm America, Dr Fintan Walton talks to Yuwen Liu, General Manager of BioBay, China about BioBay’s mission to attract and encourage biotech in the region.

They discuss:

• why the initiative took place and what it’s about
• government investment in innovation
• the 134 companies already based in Suzhou
• sources of investment in BioBay companies
• how BioBay fully supports companies new to the region and facilitates companies’ moves with free advice
• BioBay’s aims for the future – to attract more companies to this fastest growing life sciences park in China and to continue to build the community/cluster
Why the initiative took place and what it's about.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News review here in San Francisco at BioPharm America. On this show I have Yuwen Liu, who is CEO of BioBay which is based in China, welcome to the show.
Yuwen Liu:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
BioBay is a initiative by the local government?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
In just North of Shanghai in a region called Suzhou?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
And it's all about obviously trying to attract and encourage biotechnology in the Suzhou region?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
Could you just tell us little bit about the why the initiative took place and what it's really all about?
Yuwen Liu:
The whole China country is keen on building the innovation capability to enhance the technology level and also the healthcare demand for the whole population becomes one of the major focus. So in this there is a driving factors for building a life science cluster and also why Suzhou is, Suzhou has been very successful bringing lots of the foreign investments into that area say just in the Suzhou industrial park which is about 288 square kilometer area fortune 500 they are more than 100 invested there. So lots of the multinational companies already there and that including medical device equipment and pharmaceutical just like GSK, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, Hitachi Medical Instruments, Siemens, Baxter, BD, Johnson & Johnson so you name it so there are huge industrial say foundations already there and Suzhou has been very famous for being a nice living environments, nice tourism destination and a good education system. So it's able to attract top-notch talent. So the local government will figure out it is a right place and right time to set up a life science cluster to catering for the interesting technologies in life science including drug discovery, medical device, equipment and diagnostic and as well as nanotechnology, so it comes up to this idea three-years ago, so BioBay was founded three-years ago.
BioBay's ways of creating a cluster and having 134 companies already based in Suzhou.
Fintan Walton:
So clearly then BioBay is, its purpose of it is to create this cluster?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
In a background of an area which has already attracted major multinational corporation?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes, manufacturing.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah at the manufacturing level. So what does and how does BioBay create a cluster, what is it do, what is the need to do to create that cluster?
Yuwen Liu:
To doing the life science research and development and the commercialization you need the infrastructure including people, including say some say supplies including some service like sectors like IP, accounting even some information source and also investment funds. So what we are building is first is the infrastructure so we have a say a big service team to provide services covering business incorporation service, their lab fitting out and people talent recruiting and the training, and the fund raising, bridging opportunities like the investor forum and the seminars and also the IP and the legal seminars. And we also invested into a couple of central laboratories for like chemical, analytical and antibody and the drug delivery, and then we also in the investing investigation period of setting up a central lab our service technical platform for medical device, so this is all the elements we found out needed to enhance the development and it's kind of the part of the infrastructure, so we are building that. So that bring us 134 companies in two-years and the two months to be located in BioBay and we foresee there will be 150 companies end up sitting down in BioBay.
Sources of investment in BioBay companies and the government investment in innovation
Fintan Walton:
So there is a number of sources of funds, there is obviously funds that go into training but there is also funds that can actually invest in an equity in companies themselves as startup companies?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes, they first BioBay is under investment group called Suzhou Ventures Group which the groups in raise just capital [ph] from local government but the group is able to raise money from the other LP's including ministry of Finance Ministry of Science Technology and China Bank of Government and the other LP's. So under that there are NGO fund, VC fund and PE fund and a fund of funds. So the there are more than 10 companies in BioBay received the investment from the NGO fund and VC funds and the beside that there are also a couple of company receive the VC funds from the other VC like Kleiner Perkins, The CICI [ph], JAIC, I-China fund they nearly found all these type of from the industry. And then also as ever what they know that China government is keen in putting money into the innovations, so beside the Suzhou Industrial Park level there are certain packages actually put into grant and a subsidies and also the investment fund into company also there are municipal level, provincial level and the central government level putting into the money and normally that's in the form of grants subsidy and the allowances.
How BioBay fully supports companies new to the region and facilitates companies moves with free advice.
Fintan Walton:
Sure. So there is clearly private money coming in as you say angel investors coming in alongside government supported funds for investment, there are two types of individuals who may be interested in moving into Suzhou region one is from within China the individual new entrepreneurs that are coming with, arising within China?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
And then obviously there is overseas companies who want to come in, so how do you facilitate and differentiate between those two?
Yuwen Liu:
To be honest we really don't differentiate them, we our slogan is innovation comes home, we try to build the community, the echo system to accommodate all kinds of innovation and all the people and the companies who're doing the innovative program or in the life science sector. So, but we too provide services to meet the demands and needs for those different companies, point is if it's a domestic company, we call it that way and we may help more in terms of say fund raising or the other sector and therefore a foreign company the first time they are they don't know what to do and how to do, so first we will start with how to get the right people, connect them to the right people and right sources and also help them to get through the business incorporation process for instance how to register the company in China. And we try to offer a hassle free kind of services to them to facilitate the process, we really don't do, we are not differentiating them, but we try to provide services customized.
Fintan Walton:
So if I was an overseas company may be a biotech company I was looking to set up a business in the Suzhou region?
Yuwen Liu:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
How would I do that? If I was going to approach your organization BioBay what should I do?
Yuwen Liu:
You find the right partner, yeah we always think we are the partner and that we are the service provider, so first you need to incorporate it in Suzhou, so we have a person who walks you through the whole registration process, you have your say the owners ID and the register capital, we will help to open a account in the local bank actually Chinese bank and both let's say US dollar account and Remibi account so that you can use the money and get through the registration through the bureau of industry and the commerce and also if you are US I mean foreign company you will get the approval from the foreign currency surveillance and we also help you to pass that approval. So there are certain stamp will be put on the in the registration form, so then we help you to bring the money into - putting into the bank account and to get the registration form all done and the pass approval get the business license then at the same time we will offer the space, which you would like to set up your laboratory or manufacturing capabilities. Then we also kind a offering some information about what are the local subcontractor doing the fitting out and what are the local head hunters to help you to hire the people and what are the potential partners for you to collaborate with from the universities and then from the research institute which there are some of the resources you can leverage. And then also we have the central lab you remember so you can use the instruments even during the fitting out period you can do some scientific work, because you can use our lab.
Fintan Walton:
So it's a full - it sounds like a full support system there?
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Right through from registration setting up the business, putting in the infrastructure, recruiting the individuals?
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah and almost all free, beside they using the lab...
Fintan Walton:
Really?
Yuwen Liu:
lab instruments offered in this our central laboratory we call a technical platform you need to pay for the other services we just facilitate all.
Fintan Walton:
Right, but obviously you have to pay for the rent on the...
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah, sure.
Fintan Walton:
on the property and so forth, so okay. So there are some expenses, but the facilitation expenses are there for free?
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah, yeah.
BioBay's aims for the future - to attract more companies to this fastest growing life sciences park in China and to continue to build the community/cluster.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So you've said that you've attracted a 134 companies into the Suzhou region which is remarkable and you're gonna see a further increase in that over the next six months or so. So how do you see as you the whole region developing now going forward, it's clearly one of the fasting growing areas probably in China right now?
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah we always quoted as the fastest growing life science park in China since there are so many. And the positioning of our park is really - I try to bringing the say cultivate the innovation, so in terms of the talent gathered into this area and in terms of the number of the companies come into this area and in terms of the growth rate of the companies I think we are one of the fastest growing.
Fintan Walton:
So why should somebody go to BioBay than say to some other part of China?
Yuwen Liu:
Because we they are, they like to deal with us our service team like us we speak English, we have our service team and a BD team all have the life science, life science background. So basically we speak the same language. And our minds and attitude is really customer oriented and service oriented and we try to understand what are the needs and then try to meet the needs, so they feel it's easier to deal with us and really the process to get things done are faster, so it saves a lot of money, save lot of the time and why not.
Fintan Walton:
So you and you are here in the US what are you doing here are you looking to attract more companies?
Yuwen Liu:
Yeah. One of we have to level ourselves our goals, the first goal is we still would like to attract more companies coming especially more device company and a diagnostic company since this is also a very interestingly growing sector. And then secondly we really want to build into a cluster or community so that we try to be the bridge or window for partnerships and that collaboration, so some company are looking for investments, some companies are looking for potential collaborator on some technology, some companies wants in license or out license technologies whatever, so we some companies would say, would like to open the US market although they use to live here, worked for a while and now back to China to run their company they still need the lot of the resources to help to open the market to get their products through FDA and distribution, so we are trying to be the information collector and utilizer of all their resources and to bridge the gap.
Fintan Walton:
BioBay is a very interesting phenomenon.
Yuwen Liu:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
I would like to thank you very much Yuwen Liu for coming to the show. Thank you very much indeed.
Yuwen Liu:
Thank you.
Yuwen Liu
General Manager
Yuwen Liu graduated from China Pharmaceutical University with an Ms in Pharmaceutics and MBA at Fudan University, China and Norwegian Management School, and is a licensed pharmacist. She started her career with Capsugel, a division of Pfizer in Suzhou, China as a quality engineer in 1997 and was promoted to be QA manager in April 1998. In May 2000, following strategic expansion of CapsugelChina, she transferred to New Business Development department managing new product market opportunity exploration in great China region. In May 2003, she moved to Shanghai as General Manager to set up the representative office for Perrigo Company (the world's largest manufacturer of OTC pharmaceutical and nutritional products for the store brand market) and is taking charge of all related market development activities including JV's in China as well as supply management in other Asia Pacific regions such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc. In Dec. 2005, she moved back to Suzhou as executive vice president for BioBay, a bio science park funded by Suzhou Industrial Park, whose mission is to build an integrated comprehensive platform for biotech, pharmaceutical and nanotech research and development in China. August, 2007, she became the general manager of BioBay, vice president of Suzhou Ventures Group, assistance director of Suzhou Industrial Park Science & Technology Bureau.
BioBay
BioBay, is an inclusive park and welcomes biotech companies, R&D enterprises, and professionals throughout the world. Its goal is to encourage and support the development of a modern bio and nanotech industry in Suzhou.