Boehringer Ingelheim to incubate biotechs with Hong Kong R&D leader
Following the suit of AstraZeneca last February, Boehringer Ingelheim will team up with a leading R&D hub in Hong Kong to seed biotechs.
Whereas AstraZeneca focused on cancer drugs and diagnostics, the German giant will work with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks on incubating infectious disease and immunology drug developers.
HKSTP and Boehringer, through its venture arm, will support the upstarts with up to $6 million HK (about $600,000 USD) each to bankroll early-stage operations and clinical trials, said Grace Lau, head of HKSTP’s institute for translational research, in a statement.
The focus is on early-stage startups and university spinoffs that are entering the R&D stage. Local and global startups are able to apply.
The Hong Kong partner will provide business development expertise, mentorship and investment initiatives, such as helping with financial subsidies and upfront grants. The group will also lend guidance on commercialization, manufacturing, scaling-up and marketing strategies.
Boehringer will lend investment insight and provide access to its funding network.
The pair kept details slim on the length of the partnership and how many biotechs they look to build. More than 150 biotechs are already part of HKSTP, the group says, which is a threefold increase in the past five years. The rapid rise is part of the government’s investment into biomedical technology with the infusion of $10 billion HK ($1.27 billion USD) dedicated toward life and health tech.
The rise has been so strong that HKSTP CEO Albert Wong claims Hong Kong is the world’s second largest fundraising hub for biotech, cementing its mark as the largest in Asia.
“Now we’re thrilled to see that the biopharmaceutical industry is picking up rapidly in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macau Greater Bay Area, it’s a great opportunity for us to partner with HKSTP to develop the local ecosystem, and further enhance China’s dual-circulation scheme,” Boehringer China CEO and president Felix Gutsche said in a statement. “We hope to offer our continuous support to more home-grown innovations to be recognized on the global market and eventually benefit the patients worldwide.”
Fledgling biotechs involved in the program can also tap into HKSTP’s 11,000-researcher talent pool.