Wednesday Recap: 2017 BIO Asia International Conference

Click here for coverage from Tuesday’s programming at the 2017 BIO Asia International Conference. Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

 

Economic and Patient Impact of the Biomedical Research Community in Japan

The second day of the BIO Asia International Conference began with a panel titled, “Economic and Patient Impact of the Biomedical Research Community in Japan”. The panel was moderated by Kyle Hathaway, PhD, Director of Policy and Government Relations, Asia Pacific, MSD, and featured the following panelists:

  • Kei Katsuno, MD, MPH, Director, Investment Strategy and Development, Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund
  • Yoko Nakata, Public & Industry Policy, Health Policy, MSD K.K.
  • Naomi Sakurai, President and Representative Director, Cancer Solutions Co., Ltd. (CANSOL)

Hathaway asked the audience if anyone was aware of how many scientific researchers work in the life sciences in Japan. The answer: more than 100,000 researchers. There have also been 13 noble laureates from Japan, with 4 in medicine. That’s a tremendous amount of human capital that Japan is bringing to solve our global health challenges.

Hathaway asked how cancer research has changed over the past decade. Sakurai, a cancer survivor, and leader of a patient advocacy group, answered that there is now a big movement in Japan to value patients’ voices, and she works to help cancer survivors to address and communicate more widely the many challenges they face. Patient education of the medical and support options available to them is something she would like to see more of in Japan, she said.

Nakata discussed the issues that Japan’s healthcare industry groups face, and how they have responded so far. Japan has issued a 2035 health policy statement, which addresses what the nation will do in the year 2035 when 1/3 of the Japanese population will reach the age of 65.

Katsuno discussed what GHIT is working on, and details about how the product funding process operates as a public-private partnership model, particularly to fight neglected tropical diseases. He believes  this model could be effective in other areas moving forward as well.

Japan has shown that when faced with a healthcare challenge, it has been swift to respond, Hathaway, said. He gave several examples of times when policy changes and new research initiatives were created in response to such challenges. A current issue Japan is facing in healthcare is Alzheimer’s disease, which costs Japan 14.5 trillion yen in direct and indirect costs. Globally, the cost is estimated to be between 600-800 billion dollars. Japan will be instrumental in helping solve diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and others for patients around the world.

Seeing Connections: Common Industry Growth Priorities for the Pacific Rim

The panel was moderated by Joseph Damond, Senior Vice President, International Affairs, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). The panelists were:

  • Bor-Fuei “Apo” Huang, PhD, Secretary General, Taiwan Bio Industry Organization
  • Yoshiaki Tsukamoto, Executive Director, Japan Bioindustry Association (JBA)
  • Seung Jun Yoo, PhD, Managing Director, Korea Bio-Economy Research Center, KoreaBIO

Japan has an impressive amount of human capital in the form of PhD-level academics, noble laureates, and research institutions. The challenge has been commercialization of the knowledge produced by the many Japanese academics and researchers. The session explored the differences in the Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean research funding traditions and regulatory environments, as well as the commonalities in priorities for supporting the growth of biotechnology companies and therapeutic pipelines.

Huang discussed the status of current clinical trials in progress in Taiwan, provided an overview of the investment landscape, and identified recent IPOs.

Yoo provided an overview of what Korea is doing to develop its healthcare industry. One challenge he identified is the size in of the healthcare industry in comparison to the rest of the Asia, which makes up about 2% of the industry in Asia. Korea aims to increase this by increasing business development collaboration with other nations worldwide.

Damond asked if the Japanese start up structure is likely to grow, or if there will be changes. Tsukamoto discussed recent investments in Japanese universities and said that there are increasingly more alternatives to the current start up culture.

Luncheon Plenary – Fireside Chat: Jingsong Wang, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Harbour BioMed

Lunch Day Two

Wang addressed a lunchtime crowd of attendees and discussed biopharma trends in China, as well as what Harbour BioMed has done to encourage innovation. He began by describing his background in immunology and how he came to work in the biopharma industry. He spoke to the importance of altering corporate and national culture to foster and reward innovation. Wang explained that government policy is responsible for setting the tone to encourage innovative programs, and in China, the government has taken steps in a positive direction towards this goal.

Academic institutions in China are getting closer to the investment community, Wang said, but there are still gaps where there is a lack of investment opportunities for research institutions. The system is well established in the US, but it will take time for a similar system to be built in China.

Previously, Wang worked at Sanofi, but he left in 2016 to create Harbour BioMed. He explained the circumstances by which the company was founded as a start up company, and their work in discovering and developing cancer therapeutics. He spoke about the challenges and opportunities the company has faced as a Chinese company that acquired a European company, Harbour Antibodies, in 2016. A truly global company, Harbour BioMed has worked alongside Chinese, European, and American biotech investors and researchers to deliver innovative therapeutics to immuno-oncology patients.

 

Thank you to everyone who attended! Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

 

 

Tuesday Recap: 2017 BIO Asia International Conference

Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

The 14th annual BIO Asia International Conference kicked off Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan. President and CEO of BIO Jim Greenwood welcomed attendees, and mentioned that BIO Asia is BIO’s longest-running international conferences.  He thanked attendees for their continued support of the industry, and of the event.

Greenwood noted that the US and Japan share a similar set of healthcare challenges, and that innovators, investors, and institutions must come together to solve the problems of the modern world. He called for a long-term strategy for industry and government to work together and incentivize innovation to save lives, save money, and ensure a prosperous future across the world.

BIO then welcomed Dr. Tatsumi Yamazaki, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Japan Bioindustry Association (JBA). Dr. Yamazaki greeted attendees and gave an overview of the event and JBA’s role in growing the industry. He noted that there remain gaps between industry and academia that hinder innovation, but that meetings such as this one are important to overcoming such gaps.

Opening Plenary: Seishi Baba, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare

BIO and JBA were pleased to welcome the conference’s opening plenary speaker, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare Seishi Baba. Vice-Minister Baba displayed a slide showing the demographic changes in Japan since the baby boom and the projected population demographic changes through 2060. Japan is going to be a nation with an extremely high elderly population, which will present new healthcare challenges. Japan has a universal healthcare policy, and thus healthcare will continue to be a growing budgetary challenge as healthcare needs rise. To be sustainable, Baba explained, it is important that Japan promote disease prevention policies and encourage medical innovation in the area of healthcare.

Baba went on to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Japan’s current healthcare landscape. Japan has many world class biomedical advances in universities and research institutions, and clinical research is widely practiced in hospitals in Japan. Additionally, Japan has many promising companies with advanced manufacturing technologies, and the approval process of drugs and medical devices has been accelerated. One weakness is that there are relatively few entrepreneurs, and so it can be difficult to assemble sufficient human resources for biotech ventures. Also, venture capital investment is scarce and finding seed capital is a particular challenge. Venture companies are not considered in the medical devices, and there are very few successful cases of medical device ventures in Japan.

Baba affirmed Japan’s commitment to overcoming these challenges and acknowledged the importance of smart regulation that will encourage innovation and reduce barriers to collaboration between government, industry, and academia.

Tuesday Keynote: David Meeker, MD, Executive Vice President, Sanofi and Head, Genzyme Sanofi

David Meeker

Tuesday’s keynote session welcomed David Meeker, MD, Executive Vice President, Sanofi and Head, Genzyme Sanofi. Meeker gave a candid discussion about orphan disease pricing policy and Genzyme’s role in developing drugs for orphan diseases. Meeker said Genzyme has held a presence in Japan since 1989 because they recognized the importance of the Japanese market, and that Genzyme was the first U.S. company to submit a drug through the Japanese regulatory process without the assistance of a Japanese partner.

Meeker said that regarding the content of proposed reforms under the Trump administration, Meeker’s hope is that the FDA will continue to receive funding and government support, because for biopharma companies, the stamp of approval from the FDA is a new medicine’s most valuable asset. He emphasized that he has zero interest in lowering the bar for demonstrating safety and efficacy. Meeker noted that it is important that high-risk investments for developing drugs for orphan diseases continue to be rewarded, at least in the initial phase before generics hit the market. He said there needs to be an elimination of the backlog of lifesaving drugs in development, and hopes that changes will be made towards this goal.

“People can choose to buy a car or not buy a car, but when it comes to buying lifesaving drugs, healthcare is different,” Meeker explained. “We need to be able to trust the system; I want to have the confidence that the medicine will do what it says it does, and that doctors will not be unduly influenced by any force within the system.” Meeker concluded that he is confident that companies with innovative therapies that meet unmet needs will be able to find reimbursement.

Addressing Shifts in Japanese Reimbursement Policy

Suzuki

There is a worldwide discussion underway regarding the sustainability of traditional approaches to paying for healthcare, and Japan has recently announced plans to reconfigure reimbursement policies for medicines. The first panel session explored policy shifts underway in Japan in the context of policy shifts globally. Speakers provided advice on steps innovative drug companies should take to communicate the value they offer to patients and stay competitive despite changes in regulation.

The speakers were:

  • Yasuhiro Suzuki, MD, PhD, Director General of the Health Insurance Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Japan
  • Amy Jackson, Japan Representative, PhRMA
  • Joseph Damond, Senior Vice President, International Affairs, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Damond began by introducing Dr. Suzuki, who described the case of an innovative cancer drug, Opivo, for melanoma, and its effect on Japanese health care costs. Later, the drug’s indication was expanded to cover non-small cell lung cancer, drastically increasing the number of patients served under the drug, as well as the market size, from 3.1 billion yen to over 150 billion yen in about one year. Suzuki then outlines the future direction of drug pricing and the regulatory process for drugs in Japan, with potential adjustments in the frequency of price reviews. He expects to have a finalized plan by the end of the summer of 2017.

Damond then introduced Jackson, who discussed the policy changes Japan has taken in the past few years to foster innovation and increase access to new medicines. She said that there has been a sharp increase in drugs in the clinical development pipeline, as well as higher growth in R&D, since pro-innovation policy changes went into effect. However, she mentions that since December 2015, adjustments to government repricing rules that went into effect quickly and without significant, advanced discussion with stakeholders created concern among PhRMA’s member companies. This policy shift was followed by the emergency re-pricing of Opivo just a few months later, which was also done quickly. There is concern that without better communication between policy makers and medicine developers that significant therapies that could help patients and lower total healthcare costs might be prevented from reaching the market.  She concluded by expressing hope that Japanese policy makers will think very carefully about the implementation process of their proposed drug reform plan and that they roll it out in a way that doesn’t hinder serving patients.

The speakers then convened on the stage to discuss the reforms further. Dr. Suzuki stated that Japan has no intention to move away from pro-innovation policies, and reassured the audience that Japan will balance innovation with sustainable fiscal responsibility.

Luncheon Plenary – Fireside Chat: Philippe Fauchet, OBE, President & Representative Director, GlaxoSmithKline K.K. and Subesh Williams, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline plc

Lunch at BIO Asia 2017

Lunch was served to attendees at noon, where they listened to two senior representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Firstly, Subesh Williams, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline plc, delivered a brief presentation, then Philippe Fauchet, OBE, President & Representative Director, GlaxoSmithKline K.K. participated in a one-on-one interview with Devang Bhuva, Director, Healthcare Investment Banking, Lazard

Williams described the successful joint venture, Viiv Healthcare, that GSK, Pfizer, and Shionogi support to deliver and improve HIV therapies.  Viiv produced 12 antiretroviral medicines for patients, with other therapies in development.  Williams also detailed GSK’s past asset swaps with Novartis and multiple partners in Asia, where GSK has about 1/3 of its global workforce and operations.

Fauchet and Bhuva then conversed about Fauchet’s two decades in Japan biopharma and lessons about GSK’s successful focus and growth during his tenure.  Bhuva congratulated Fauchet on his announced elevation to Chairman of GSK K.K. to take effect in April.  Fauchet thanked him and voiced the importance of public policies that support innovation in the development of new medicines as the best way to help the most patients, long-term, in a sustainable way.

Fighting Neurodegeneration: New Models for Alzheimer’s Disease and Beyond

Neurodegeneration Panel

The session featured several companies exploring innovative therapeutic angles on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, and was moderated by Ellen Lubman, Vice President, External Science & Innovation, Allergan PLC. The panelists were:

  • Tim Earle, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Business Officer, TauRx Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Kevin J. Lynch, PhD, Vice President, Search and Evaluation, AbbVie
  • Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

With more than 5 million people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases in Japan, a number expected to rise nearly 50% in the next decade as the population ages, the challenge of finding treatments grows even more critical. Years of clinical trial disappointments have inspired a diversification in the selection of biological mechanisms to attack with new treatment approaches.

While the panelists represented different approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer’s, they were all in agreement that any new developments in the field serve to benefit all companies. A promising beta amyloid drug for treating the disease failed last year in phase III, and although this meant less competition for tau-focusedcompanies, it was a blow to the entire field. Panelists expressed disappointment as it meant that patients would have to wait longer for a new treatment, and the companies searching for a cure are all united in this shared goal.  This is especially true as the panel described that there is still much unknown about the proper timing when treatments might have greatest impact, and about what combination of mechanisms and genetic factors are most influential on disease progressions.  One hopeful part of the discussion pointed out advantages from cross-application of Alzheimer’s therapies to treat other neurological ailments and improvements in imaging that might support better neurodegenation diagnostics.

Market Outlook— The Rise of Cross-Asia Partnerships

Market Outlook Panel

As biotech grows in Asia, innovators are increasingly looking for cross-Asia partnerships to access capital, talent and clinical trial sites to speed product development. In South Korea, several innovators have out-licensed local rights to emerging China players. At the same time, innovators elsewhere in Asia have partnered with South Korean firms to accelerate development of their own pipelines.

The panel examined several significant cross-Asia deals to identify lessons learned for Asia dealmakers, and was moderated by David Flores, President and Chief Executive Officer, BioCentury Inc. The panelists were:

  • Carl Firth, PhD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aslan Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd.
  • Benjamin Li, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd.
  • Paul Youm, Legal Counsel, SillaJen, Inc.
  • Jin-San Yoo, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, PharmAbcine Inc.
  • Zhenping Zhu, MD, PhD, President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, 3SBio Inc.

Flores began by stating that he has been attending the conference for many years, and that the topic of cross-Asia dealmaking has been a popularly suggested topic but there was a lack of critical mass to profile and discuss until now. Data was shared on 17 significant deals totaling more than $11 billion of value among cross-Asia partners in the past 15 months.  Flores introduced the five panelists and provided some background into each company and their recent deal-making activities.

The panelists discussed what they are currently looking for when making deals, the differences in portfolio structures in Western and Asian countries, and the variances in the regulatory processes among different countries.  They generally agreed that they expect this trend now has gathered enough momentum to continue and spark robust cross-border dealmaking within Asia as the investor base continues to mature and find financial success from these pioneering deals.

Click here for additional coverage of Wednesday’s programming at the BIO Asia International Conference! Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

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Tuesday Recap: 2017 BIO Asia International Conference

Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

The 14th annual BIO Asia International Conference kicked off Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan. President and CEO of BIO Jim Greenwood welcomed attendees, and mentioned that BIO Asia is BIO’s longest-running international conferences.  He thanked attendees for their continued support of the industry, and of the event.

Greenwood noted that the US and Japan share a similar set of healthcare challenges, and that innovators, investors, and institutions must come together to solve the problems of the modern world. He called for a long-term strategy for industry and government to work together and incentivize innovation to save lives, save money, and ensure a prosperous future across the world.

BIO then welcomed Dr. Tatsumi Yamazaki, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Japan Bioindustry Association (JBA). Dr. Yamazaki greeted attendees and gave an overview of the event and JBA’s role in growing the industry. He noted that there remain gaps between industry and academia that hinder innovation, but that meetings such as this one are important to overcoming such gaps.

Opening Plenary: Seishi Baba, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare

BIO and JBA were pleased to welcome the conference’s opening plenary speaker, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare Seishi Baba. Vice-Minister Baba displayed a slide showing the demographic changes in Japan since the baby boom and the projected population demographic changes through 2060. Japan is going to be a nation with an extremely high elderly population, which will present new healthcare challenges. Japan has a universal healthcare policy, and thus healthcare will continue to be a growing budgetary challenge as healthcare needs rise. To be sustainable, Baba explained, it is important that Japan promote disease prevention policies and encourage medical innovation in the area of healthcare.

Baba went on to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Japan’s current healthcare landscape. Japan has many world class biomedical advances in universities and research institutions, and clinical research is widely practiced in hospitals in Japan. Additionally, Japan has many promising companies with advanced manufacturing technologies, and the approval process of drugs and medical devices has been accelerated. One weakness is that there are relatively few entrepreneurs, and so it can be difficult to assemble sufficient human resources for biotech ventures. Also, venture capital investment is scarce and finding seed capital is a particular challenge. Venture companies are not considered in the medical devices, and there are very few successful cases of medical device ventures in Japan.

Baba affirmed Japan’s commitment to overcoming these challenges and acknowledged the importance of smart regulation that will encourage innovation and reduce barriers to collaboration between government, industry, and academia.

Tuesday Keynote: David Meeker, MD, Executive Vice President, Sanofi and Head, Genzyme Sanofi

David Meeker

Tuesday’s keynote session welcomed David Meeker, MD, Executive Vice President, Sanofi and Head, Genzyme Sanofi. Meeker gave a candid discussion about orphan disease pricing policy and Genzyme’s role in developing drugs for orphan diseases. Meeker said Genzyme has held a presence in Japan since 1989 because they recognized the importance of the Japanese market, and that Genzyme was the first U.S. company to submit a drug through the Japanese regulatory process without the assistance of a Japanese partner.

Meeker said that regarding the content of proposed reforms under the Trump administration, Meeker’s hope is that the FDA will continue to receive funding and government support, because for biopharma companies, the stamp of approval from the FDA is a new medicine’s most valuable asset. He emphasized that he has zero interest in lowering the bar for demonstrating safety and efficacy. Meeker noted that it is important that high-risk investments for developing drugs for orphan diseases continue to be rewarded, at least in the initial phase before generics hit the market. He said there needs to be an elimination of the backlog of lifesaving drugs in development, and hopes that changes will be made towards this goal.

“People can choose to buy a car or not buy a car, but when it comes to buying lifesaving drugs, healthcare is different,” Meeker explained. “We need to be able to trust the system; I want to have the confidence that the medicine will do what it says it does, and that doctors will not be unduly influenced by any force within the system.” Meeker concluded that he is confident that companies with innovative therapies that meet unmet needs will be able to find reimbursement.

Addressing Shifts in Japanese Reimbursement Policy

Suzuki

There is a worldwide discussion underway regarding the sustainability of traditional approaches to paying for healthcare, and Japan has recently announced plans to reconfigure reimbursement policies for medicines. The first panel session explored policy shifts underway in Japan in the context of policy shifts globally. Speakers provided advice on steps innovative drug companies should take to communicate the value they offer to patients and stay competitive despite changes in regulation.

The speakers were:

  • Yasuhiro Suzuki, MD, PhD, Director General of the Health Insurance Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Japan
  • Amy Jackson, Japan Representative, PhRMA
  • Joseph Damond, Senior Vice President, International Affairs, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Damond began by introducing Dr. Suzuki, who described the case of an innovative cancer drug, Opivo, for melanoma, and its effect on Japanese health care costs. Later, the drug’s indication was expanded to cover non-small cell lung cancer, drastically increasing the number of patients served under the drug, as well as the market size, from 3.1 billion yen to over 150 billion yen in about one year. Suzuki then outlines the future direction of drug pricing and the regulatory process for drugs in Japan, with potential adjustments in the frequency of price reviews. He expects to have a finalized plan by the end of the summer of 2017.

Damond then introduced Jackson, who discussed the policy changes Japan has taken in the past few years to foster innovation and increase access to new medicines. She said that there has been a sharp increase in drugs in the clinical development pipeline, as well as higher growth in R&D, since pro-innovation policy changes went into effect. However, she mentions that since December 2015, adjustments to government repricing rules that went into effect quickly and without significant, advanced discussion with stakeholders created concern among PhRMA’s member companies. This policy shift was followed by the emergency re-pricing of Opivo just a few months later, which was also done quickly. There is concern that without better communication between policy makers and medicine developers that significant therapies that could help patients and lower total healthcare costs might be prevented from reaching the market.  She concluded by expressing hope that Japanese policy makers will think very carefully about the implementation process of their proposed drug reform plan and that they roll it out in a way that doesn’t hinder serving patients.

The speakers then convened on the stage to discuss the reforms further. Dr. Suzuki stated that Japan has no intention to move away from pro-innovation policies, and reassured the audience that Japan will balance innovation with sustainable fiscal responsibility.

Luncheon Plenary – Fireside Chat: Philippe Fauchet, OBE, President & Representative Director, GlaxoSmithKline K.K. and Subesh Williams, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline plc

Lunch at BIO Asia 2017

Lunch was served to attendees at noon, where they listened to two senior representatives from GlaxoSmithKline, Firstly, Subesh Williams, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline plc, delivered a brief presentation, then Philippe Fauchet, OBE, President & Representative Director, GlaxoSmithKline K.K. participated in a one-on-one interview with Devang Bhuva, Director, Healthcare Investment Banking, Lazard

Williams described the successful joint venture, Viiv Healthcare, that GSK, Pfizer, and Shionogi support to deliver and improve HIV therapies.  Viiv produced 12 antiretroviral medicines for patients, with other therapies in development.  Williams also detailed GSK’s past asset swaps with Novartis and multiple partners in Asia, where GSK has about 1/3 of its global workforce and operations.

Fauchet and Bhuva then conversed about Fauchet’s two decades in Japan biopharma and lessons about GSK’s successful focus and growth during his tenure.  Bhuva congratulated Fauchet on his announced elevation to Chairman of GSK K.K. to take effect in April.  Fauchet thanked him and voiced the importance of public policies that support innovation in the development of new medicines as the best way to help the most patients, long-term, in a sustainable way.

Fighting Neurodegeneration: New Models for Alzheimer’s Disease and Beyond

Neurodegeneration Panel

The session featured several companies exploring innovative therapeutic angles on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, and was moderated by Ellen Lubman, Vice President, External Science & Innovation, Allergan PLC. The panelists were:

  • Tim Earle, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Business Officer, TauRx Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Kevin J. Lynch, PhD, Vice President, Search and Evaluation, AbbVie
  • Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Anavex Life Sciences Corp.

With more than 5 million people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases in Japan, a number expected to rise nearly 50% in the next decade as the population ages, the challenge of finding treatments grows even more critical. Years of clinical trial disappointments have inspired a diversification in the selection of biological mechanisms to attack with new treatment approaches.

While the panelists represented different approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer’s, they were all in agreement that any new developments in the field serve to benefit all companies. A promising beta amyloid drug for treating the disease failed last year in phase III, and although this meant less competition for tau-focusedcompanies, it was a blow to the entire field. Panelists expressed disappointment as it meant that patients would have to wait longer for a new treatment, and the companies searching for a cure are all united in this shared goal.  This is especially true as the panel described that there is still much unknown about the proper timing when treatments might have greatest impact, and about what combination of mechanisms and genetic factors are most influential on disease progressions.  One hopeful part of the discussion pointed out advantages from cross-application of Alzheimer’s therapies to treat other neurological ailments and improvements in imaging that might support better neurodegenation diagnostics.

Market Outlook— The Rise of Cross-Asia Partnerships

Market Outlook Panel

As biotech grows in Asia, innovators are increasingly looking for cross-Asia partnerships to access capital, talent and clinical trial sites to speed product development. In South Korea, several innovators have out-licensed local rights to emerging China players. At the same time, innovators elsewhere in Asia have partnered with South Korean firms to accelerate development of their own pipelines.

The panel examined several significant cross-Asia deals to identify lessons learned for Asia dealmakers, and was moderated by David Flores, President and Chief Executive Officer, BioCentury Inc. The panelists were:

  • Carl Firth, PhD, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aslan Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd.
  • Benjamin Li, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd.
  • Paul Youm, Legal Counsel, SillaJen, Inc.
  • Jin-San Yoo, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, PharmAbcine Inc.
  • Zhenping Zhu, MD, PhD, President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, 3SBio Inc.

Flores began by stating that he has been attending the conference for many years, and that the topic of cross-Asia dealmaking has been a popularly suggested topic but there was a lack of critical mass to profile and discuss until now. Data was shared on 17 significant deals totaling more than $11 billion of value among cross-Asia partners in the past 15 months.  Flores introduced the five panelists and provided some background into each company and their recent deal-making activities.

The panelists discussed what they are currently looking for when making deals, the differences in portfolio structures in Western and Asian countries, and the variances in the regulatory processes among different countries.  They generally agreed that they expect this trend now has gathered enough momentum to continue and spark robust cross-border dealmaking within Asia as the investor base continues to mature and find financial success from these pioneering deals.

Click here for additional coverage of Wednesday’s programming at the BIO Asia International Conference! Missed the event this year? Sign up to receive updates about BIO Asia 2018.

 

Greenwood: Japan Is An Elite Biotech Hub, But Recent Pricing Measures Are Destabilizing

In Tokyo, BIO CEO Jim Greenwood acknowledged Japan’s remarkable progress in biomedical innovation but warned that recent actions by the government to artificially lower prices on successful therapies could cost the country more than it saves in the long run.

Remarks Prepared for BIO CEO Jim Greenwood
BIO Asia
Tokyo, Japan
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Welcome to our 14th BIO Asia International Conference. It’s truly a pleasure to be with you in Tokyo this morning. I’m proud to be CEO of the world’s largest biotechnology trade association. We are a truly global association with members working together, partnering together, and innovating together in 30 countries. But Japan is uniquely important –to the future of the biopharmaceutical industry and to the future of global health….

BIO Asia is our longest running international conference – and that’s no accident. Everyone now agrees: Japan has become one of the world’s truly elite biotechnology hubs. Your companies are working to heal, feed and fuel the world. Our industry is the future, and together, our countries are leading it. So thanks to each of you for the work that you do and for the hope that you deliver that, one day, we might put a stop to suffering and hunger and environmental decline.

We are honored to have as our keynote speaker this morning Vice Minister Baba from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Vice Minister Baba was kind to meet with our delegation yesterday. The Ministry has laid out an ambitious vision in its Comprehensive Strategy for Strengthening the Pharmaceutical Industry. It is establishing clinical innovation networks. It is championing efforts to support patients with intractable diseases. And it is supporting our industry’s work to prevent pandemic influenza and address antimicrobial resistance. Thank you, Vice Minister, for your leadership.

Yesterday, a delegation of BIO Board members and I met with several senior Japanese policy makers to talk about ways we can work together. Japan and America share a number of common challenges. We both have large, aging populations placing a real strain on our health care systems. We both have brilliant innovators who are developing therapies unimaginable 10 years ago, who face pressure to innovate tomorrow’s cures with yesterday’s reimbursement systems. We both have government officials who understand the importance of value-based payment arrangements, but who must still be persuaded that value should drive private negotiations – not government price controls. And finally, we both have investors who are eager to make risky bets on new miracle cures as long as our governments don’t make policy choices that feed uncertainty and price instability.

I served in the United States Congress for 12 years. Now I’ve been the CEO of BIO for 12 years. One central lesson that I’ve learned about our industry is that biotech companies simply cannot thrive without a healthy ecosystem. That ecosystem must be equally supported by 3 groups: innovators, investors and institutions.

First, you need innovators to apply their deep scientific knowledge to solve the problems of the modern world. Second, you need investors, because the most brilliant ideas won’t become actual products without the buy-in of the investor class. Finally, you need institutions committed to creating sound policy and smart regulations.

Japan has all of these ingredients and that’s why you have made so much progress in the last few years. It’s why you’ve become a global leader in regenerative medicine. It’s why you’ve been able to eliminate what was once a six-year drug lag compared to the United States and get cutting-edge therapies to your patients sooner. It’s why you’ve built a world-class regulatory standard on par with and in some ways superior to the U.S. and the EU.

Policy makers across the world can learn a lot from what has been accomplished here. But friends are candid with one another, and we must acknowledge that we have hit some bumps in the road. In our meetings yesterday, we had an honest dialogue about how the investment and research community is reacting to emergency repricing measures. We discussed the signal being sent by the plans to reform Japan’s pricing system, such as new annual price revisions. And we talked about our industry’s need for predictability and transparency. We shared the America model of looking to the generics markets for savings, so innovators have the resources and revenues to research new breakthroughs. Yes, budgets must be balanced annually. But sometimes, the prudent decision is for budget officials to look beyond one-year savings.

In America and Japan, when our elected leaders overrule the markets and cut medicine prices for political reasons … this means less revenue, less investment, less innovation, and less economic growth. And who suffers in the end? The patients who are desperately hoping for new medicines.

As an industry, we must encourage our leaders to take a long-term view. Incentivizing innovation and solving major societal health care problems will save more money in the end. New treatments prevent surgery. They prevent hospitalization. They prevent visits to the doctor. Innovation saves lives. And it saves societies billions of dollars in avoided health care costs by ending disease and keeping people healthier for longer.

I’m appreciative that we agreed to continue this important dialogue. Industry and government must work together to strike the right balance between promoting innovation and containing costs. Working together, we can deliver the world’s most cutting-edge medicines to Japan’s patients in the quickest time frame possible, and we can ensure the Japanese biopharmaceutical sector realizes its extraordinary potential.

Partner with Top Asian Biopharma Executives at BIO Asia

On April 8-9, 2014, a diverse group of innovative companies and Japanese dealmakers will come together in a collaborative setting for partnering meetings, company presentations, networking and targeted programming at the 11th annual BIO Asia International Conference.

Japan’s presence as the 2nd largest pharmaceutical industry in the world, bolstered by an evolving Asia-Pacific partnering landscape, means biopharma companies cannot ignore the deal opportunities that are being created in this dynamic market.

Industry leaders have recognized Japan as being ripe with partnership opportunities for biopharma companies this year. Joseph Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom, told Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), “Japan’s moves toward building biopharma appear to give U.S. companies a faster option for expansion into Asia than has been seen after a decade of engagement with China.” Similarly, JP Morgan healthcare specialist Scott Braunstein has touted the direct access that the Japanese pharma landscape has afforded Western companies, saying, “’Many pharma companies have a free run into Japanese markets as it has become so open.”

This kind of participation demonstrates why two days spent at BIO Asia will help your company build the important relationships that are required to succeed in the Asian partnering environment. BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ system makes this possible by enabling senior executives to arrange private meetings to explore licensing and research collaborations.

BIO Asia also provides a platform for emerging and established innovative Western and Asian biopharma companies to reach new potential partners and tell their story. If you are interested in applying for a company presentation slot, we encourage you to submit your application today. Less than 5 spots remain. See the list of currently confirmed 2014 presenting companies here.

There’s no better time to strengthen your ties with the Japanese biotechnology sector. Additional details about this year’s program, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and presentation opportunities, as well as registration information, can be found at www.bio.org/bioasia. We look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo!

Find Your Next Asia Partnership in Tokyo at BIO Asia

On April 8-9, 2014, the BIO Asia International Conference will enter its eleventh year. This year, biopharma industry leaders will convene at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan to make the cross border deals that will advance collaboration between Asia and the West. This event has become the premier customized partnering event for Western and Asian biopharma executives. According to JP Morgan healthcare specialist Scott Braunstein, Japan has become one of the most critical markets for pharma and biotech firms. Japan currently holds the spot for the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

Asian biopharmas at this year’s plenary sessions will include Acucela Inc., TaiGen Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Pfizer (Asia), Baxter (Japan), and Taiwan Liposome Company, Ltd. The speakers and the full descriptions for the 2014 panels can be viewed here. In addition, the following list of Asian biopharma companies will be available for One-on-One Partnering, with more being added daily:

Acucela, Inc.
Allergan Singapore Pte Ltd.
Asahi Kasei Corporation
ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Pte Ltd.
Astellas Pharma, Inc.Baxter
Beijing Fogangren Bio-Pharm Tech, Co., Ltd.
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Curadev Pharma Pvt Ltd.
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Dong-A ST
Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.
Eddingpharm
Fresenius Kabi Asia Pacific Ltd.
Generon (Shanghai) Corporation
GlaxoSmithKline
Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)
Golden Biotechnology Corporation
Hisamitsu Pharma
Hua Medicine
ICS Convention Design, Inc.
Ildong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
JCR Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.
Jeil Pharmaceutical
JCR Pharma
JT Pharma
Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Lilly China Research and Development Co., Ltd.
Lundbeck Research China
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation
Mitsui Chemicals Inc.
MSD K.K.
Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd.
Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc.
ReqMed Company, Ltd.
Sosei Co. Ltd.
TaiGen Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Taiwan Liposome Company Co., Ltd. (TLC)
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Tanaka International, LLC
Tech Manage Corp.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc.

There is growing interest in U.S. partnerships by Japanese biopharmas, as evident in several recent deals including Ajinomoto’s $175 million acquisition of San Diego-based Althea Technologies last year. One reason why Japan has become popular among Western biotech and pharma companies is the direct access available in Japan to end markets. Leading biotech companies such as Celgene can sell their products straight into the Japanese market and enjoy overwhelming success.

Registration for the BIO Asia International Conference is open, and BIO’s One-on-One PartneringTM System has launched. Don’t miss this chance to capitalize on the growing opportunities for collaboration available in Asia- register today!