Hong Kong is becoming an important biotech bridge between the West and the Mainland, Hong Kong Financial Secretary, Mr. John C Tsang, said in April.
He said that with the super back-up and opportunities offered by the Mainland, the future for those in the biotechnology industry in Hong Kong certainly looked bright.
Opening the Hong Kong Science Park Biotech Centre, Mr. Tsang said the center was proof positive of the Government’s commitment to support the continued growth and success of the biotech industries.
“The biotech industry has helped to diversify our knowledge based economy and provide jobs. Our experts have gained international recognition for their work, including the identification of the SARS virus and other cutting edge research,” he said.
Outlining the critical elements for a healthy biotech cluster, Mr. Tsang pinpointed the Government’s support for the sector through the Innovation and Technology Fund, which had financed over 140 life-science research projects since its establishment in 1999.
In addition, the Science Park will be introducing a new life-science commercialization program called the LAP, short for Life Science Acceleration Program. Funding support of up to HK$9.3 million (US$1.19 million) for each project will be available.
Mr. Tsang said Hong Kong was doing very well in science, which was the second element needed for a healthy biotech cluster.
“Six of our universities are engaged in biotechnology research, with over 250 high-impact biomedical publications produced annually. Hong Kong’s two medical schools are rated amongst the best in the world in clinical medicine, and have been conducting clinical trials for multinational companies. Our universities have long been a hotbed for innovation,” he said.
“Their close collaboration with the Science Park and its partner companies is a potent recipe for success.”
On the availability of talent, Mr. Tsang said Hong Kong’s universities supplied a good number of quality graduates and researchers in life-science related disciplines.
Beyond the three key elements, Mr. Tsang said, many Mainland and overseas companies found Hong Kong an attractive place to start businesses for other reasons.
“These include the rule of law, strong IP protection, low and simple tax regime, free flow of information and world-class infrastructure,” he said.
“For those companies that have already established their foothold here, our well-developed capital market and global connectivity can help them expand their horizons,” he added.