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$183 Million in Funding Set to Transform China’s Diagnostic Market

Lux Research

The Chinese government is spending money and writing policy to help local companies catch up with Western counterparts in sensors and diagnostics, says Lux Research

BOSTON, MA – March 5, 2013 – A sharply aging population with unmet medical needs is driving China’s government to invest in the rapid development of innovative sensing technologies, and emerging Chinese firms are gathering to  challenge the more experienced Western players in the sensor and diagnostic market, says Lux Research.

The domestic industry today is relatively immature, with the current market structure dominated by Western companies and multinationals. However, the government is attempting to jump start a homegrown industry, with stated goals in the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) of improving overall healthcare, especially in rural areas, and increasing funding in a number of key sensing and diagnostic research areas. In the 2011-2012 funding period, $82.9 million was award in molecular, biochemical, immunological, and physical diagnostic spaces, and China will spend an additional $103 million on basic research in the sector during the 12th FYP.

“A wide variety of innovative technologies are being developed at the university and research institute levels that are on par with research in more developed nations,” said Zhihao Yu, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “The Emerging Diagnostic Landscape in China.” “Over the next three to five years, biologics-based diagnostics will catch up and offer strong domestic options to today’s imported Western technology.”

Lux Research analysts closely studied the diagnostic landscape in China and the potential impact from policy. Among their findings:

  • Chinese switching strategies. Domestic companies are shifting from a “me-too,” go-to-market strategy based on low cost production, to novel solutions requiring lengthy R&D cycles. In the $1.5 billion Chinese medical imaging market, Mindray, Wandong, and Neusoft have market share of 10% – and rising – based on sophisticated product development strategies.

  • High hopes on genomic sequencing. The Beijing Genomics Institute, claimed to be the world’s largest genome sequencing organization, is eyeing a big payoff by developing drugs specifically designed for Chinese and non-Caucasian populations, filling a gap left by U.S. drugmakers, based on recognized differences in response to marketed drugs between different populations.   

  • R&D and policy driving growth. University research in China is finding its way into the business value chain.  Beijing Largev Instrumentation, a developer of dental CT, was founded by Tsinghua University and Nuctech, and is a major player funded under the “key technologies and product development of major digital medical equipment” mandate for the 12th FYP.

The report, titled “The Emerging Diagnostic Landscape in China,” is part of the Lux Research China BioPharma Intelligence service.