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Sinopharm has the Rx to realize high-quality development

By LIU ZHIHUA | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-16 09:12

A vial labelled "Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine" is seen in this illustration taken January 16, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

China National Pharmaceutical Group, also known as Sinopharm, will step up efforts in innovation to propel high-quality development that is featured by further improvements in industrial, supply and value chains, according to senior company executives on Monday.

Liu Jingzhen, Sinopharm chairman, said at a news conference in Beijing that the company will better coordinate industrial development and capital market utilization to complete its layout in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry and stimulate formation of independently developed new technologies to meet the nation's need for safeguarding its people's health.

The nation's largest healthcare company, Sinopharm ranked 80th on the latest Fortune Global 500 list with revenue hitting $108.78 billion last year.

This means the company not only made the top 100 enterprises on the list for the first time, but it was also the only pharmaceutical company in the world to be ranked among the top 100 enterprises on the list in general, beating many global pharmaceutical giants.

Since it debuted on the Fortune Global 500 list in 2013 in 446th place, the company has been included on the list for 10 successive years to move up to its current position.

Dong Zenghe, deputy general manager of Sinopharm, said the company will accelerate research and development of innovative products and key technologies to further increase its presence in sectors such as innovative medicines, digital and intelligent manufacturing, and innovative medical devices.

"We will promote deep integration of innovation and industrial chains and increase efforts to further tap potential in life sciences and medicine sectors on the premise of meeting requirements from national agendas," Dong said.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), Sinopharm invested more than 13.42 billion yuan ($1.98 billion) in R&D, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 23 percent. The ratio of its R&D investment to revenue in 2021 was 7.45 percent, which was much higher than the average level of less than 6 percent in the domestic pharmaceutical industry, according to some statistics.

Zhu Jingjin, vice-president of China National Biotec Group-Sinopharm's biotech subsidiary-said three virus antibody drugs for COVID-19 have all entered clinical trials with steady progress. The company also expects to finish clinical trials on Omicron-specific vaccines by September, and will closely track any mutations of the new coronavirus variant to develop new vaccines, he said.

Sinopharm is the only enterprise in the world to have independently developed four COVID-19 vaccines via three technical platforms-two inactivated vaccines, one genetic recombinant vaccine and one mRNA vaccine.

To date, COVID-19 vaccines made by Sinopharm have been approved for use or market entry by more than 119 countries, regions and international organizations. By the end of 2021, the company had supplied the world with 3.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines through production both at home and abroad.

Chen Jia, a researcher at the International Monetary Institute of Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises must reinforce R&D and innovation capabilities to further improve their competitiveness.

"The best way to increase their presence on the global stage is through continuous improvement in product and service quality," Chen said.

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