The Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association held its annual event Sunday at the University System of Maryland, Shady Grove Campus in Rockville.
The 16th annual event for the association was represented by a large number of executives from China as well as the United States. The organization's members include scientists, attorneys, entrepreneurs and other professionals. More than four delegations in groups of ten or more attended the event, flying all the way from China.
The Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association is one of the largest Chinese American professional associations in the U.S. It was cultivated and formed in Montgomery County, which is a natural hotbed of Chinese medical researchers. The organization has more than 3,000 members since its inception in 1995.
Telling the story of the extreme highs and lows not seen by many biotechs, Thomas Watkins, CEO of Rockville based Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ: HGSI) was invited to make a keynote speech to an audience of more than 400 about how his company navigated through difficult times, but finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel by getting approval from the FDA in March for Benlysta; the first Lupus drug in 56 years.
"...The ups and downs that our company went through I think is perhaps not atypical of what a lot of companies in our biotech space go through and it fortunately has a happy ending with the approval of a drug at least here in the U.S. that we're very excited about"
Watkins also noted that the CBA was in part started by Human Genome Sciences Research Scientists. The biotech is the largest in the Baltimore-Washington area measured by market value.
China is making great strides to increase its research, development and commercialization of biotechnology and the CBA has played a pivotal role. As the largest organization of its kind, the Potomac based Biopharmaceutical Association has members and connections to some of the biggest biotech companies and medical organizations in China.
On the development side, China is also embarking on world class bioparks. Zhongning Yan, Deputy Director of Wuhan Biolake in Hubei, China also flew from the People's Republic to make a visual presentation and speech in Chinese Mandarin. Wuhan Biolake will be an over 280 acre greenfield development in interior China aided by bullet trains to the closest major city Shanghai. With office towers soaring above 28 floors, the project is intended to be mixed use, blending office, research, residential and retail.
Amongst the featured presenters, locally based OriGene Technologies was a favorite amongst attendees. The Rockville based company makes life science tools for researchers to study human genes and human protein functions.
"The first gene I cloned by purchase order number was from OriGene" said Ji Luo, Ph.D., Investigator for the National Institute of Health. He is researching ways to target genes for cancer therapy.
Wei-Wu He, Ph.D., and CEO of OriGene presented innovative technologies for the development of new medicines.
The event was more than a showing of biomedical presentations; it was a convention based on strengthening ties between the United States and China. Attendees gained new partnerships and ideas. In turn the new links formed will allow further investment and expansion in both China and the U.S.