Who's ahead — China or India?
China is leading India in biomanufacturing. This may come as a surprise to those following India's long-term growth in generic
drugs, vaccines, and industrial enzymes (3). In BioPlan's opinion, despite major efforts by Indian companies and government,
this lead will likely increase in coming years. China has a larger preexisting biopharmaceutical manufacturing infrastructure,
including plants currently manufacturing biologics, particularly vaccines and blood/plasma products, for its larger population,
and has less complexity in its distribution systems and healthcare services than India. Further, biotechnology has made headlines
in China's 5-year plans and guidelines which can provide institutional support and government funding. China, like India,
has a large number of small biopharmaceutical companies,but most in China are already manufacturing products for domestic
and, in a few cases, international markets. While there are some very prominent and successful Indian biopharmaceutical companies,
the majority are not yet manufacturing at commercial scale.
As mentioned, government involvement is different in each country. Chinese companies, many with government funding, may have
a head-start in getting established. Chinese companies appear to have better access to capital, with much funding from the
central and regional governments, while in India, industrial planning and funding are more private sector-driven and where
the government is involved, it is on a smaller scale. Chinese companies may have a lead in developing partnerships with innovative
Western firms. For example, various Chinese companies have long been licensees or otherwise have links with western vaccine
companies to establish world-class domestic manufacturing facilities. In contrast, Indian companies have built fewer, smaller
facilities. At the moment, more Chinese companies appear to have crafted more funding, and collaborative R&D ventures in partnership
with Western firms than Indian companies.
Also, despite Indian companies regularly entering biopharmaceutical development, including the development of biosimilars,
China is already ahead in terms of the number, amounts, and variety of biopharmaceuticals currently manufactured. Many dozens
of companies are already producing and marketing biosimilars (more accurately, biogenerics, copies of innovator products)
in the domestic market for at least 10 years. Some of these products are now making their way to international markets. Indian
companies are working hard to catch up. For example, there are more than 20 manufacturers of interferon alfa products in China,
and many manufacturers of most other western biopharmaceutical products. China has been producing much of its domestic vaccine
and blood/plasma products for more than 50 years.
Regional dynamics in biopharmaceutical manufacturing are rapidly changing. Economic, demographic, and healthcare trends are
affecting not only the larger developing markets, but also the emerging biopharmaceutical regions such as Latin America, Eastern
Europe, and Russia. Today's trends won't be the ones we are watching and measuring in even two or three years. And today's
Top 1000 Bio's are unlikely to be tomorrow's. Stay tuned.
Eric S. Langer is president and managing partner at BioPlan Associates, and a member of BioPharm International's editorial advisory board.
1. BioPlan Associates,
2. BioPlan Associates, Biopharmaceutical Products in the US and European Markets, 10th Ed/Generation, 2011,
3. Society for Industrial Microbiology, and BioPlan Associates, Advances in Biopharmaceutical Technology in India, Rockville, MD 2008,