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Why China Is Having A Healthcare Boom

December 5, 2017, 4:45 AM UTC

There’s a healthcare boom occurring right now in China, partly aided by a number of beneficial government policies.

That’s one of the takeaways from a Tuesday session on China’s healthcare market at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech International conference in Guangzhou, China.

Both the central government and local governments, for example, help fund Chinese healthcare startups, according to Marietta Wu, managing director of the life sciences venture fund Quan Capital.

This government cash helps companies fund the research for their next blockbuster drug as well as the expenses required to operate a growing healthcare company. For instance, Wu said her previous company Zai Lab “had a lot of government support” that it used to build its drug manufacturing facilities.

These favorable regulatory policies are helping Chinese companies grow faster and develop drugs and medical devices cheaper than the U.S, explained Qiming Venture Partners managing partner Nisa Leung.

While it might cost $3 to $4 billion to develop a drug in the U.S., the same development could be done in China for about $30 to $40 million, Leung explained.

“The U.S. is having a lot of healthcare cost issues,” she said.

Chinese healthcare companies have capitalized on the healthy market and have improved their technology and research and development chops, Leung added. She claimed that one of the companies she invests in, for example, is one of three companies in the world that have developed an ebola vaccine.

The beauty of the Chinese ebola vaccine compared to the others is that it doesn’t have to be stored below freezing, Leung said. Because it can be stored at room temperature, it could come in handy in Africa where there aren’t many storage systems that can accommodate for extreme coldness, she explained.