China Invests Heavily in Western Biotech

The nation will funnel billions into UK life sciences.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May spent three-days in China, and during the visit, the nation made their interest in life sciences clear. Chinese investors have pledged to add $1.3 billion towards two British venture capital firms (Future Planet Capital and Eight Great Technologies) for their life science investments. Shenzhen Qianhai Sunflower Financial Service and an offshoot of China Construction Bank will invest an initial $476 million to building up biotech in the UK.

China will also contribute to a new building project taking place at Cambridge University. Thanks to a joint venture for $277 million between Cambridge’s Trinity College and Tus Park, a branch of Tsinghua University, construction will begin at Cambridge Science Park. The development’s blueprint reveals a Biohub, which will cater to early-stage healthcare companies. Plans include five buildings (for both offices and research) at an impressive 350,000 sq. ft. This investment will lead to the increased academic exchange between both parties and is likely setting the stage for future UK-Chinese collaboration.

“Investment deals of this kind are of mutual benefit to both countries,” said Shao Yu, Chief Economist of Orient Securities. “Chinese investors are grappling with difficulties in landing investment deals in key technologies in the United States and Britain sees China as an important funding source after Brexit.”

Douglas Hansen-Luke, Executive Chairman of the UK VC firm Future Planet, commented on the deal to the South China Morning Post. “There is a strong pipeline of deals emerging from British innovation and the renowned scientists backing Eight Great Technologies will increase that number,” he commented. “These agreements are just the beginning of a long process to ensure that investments are made profitably,” said Luke.


Nigel Walker

Mr. Walker is the founder and managing director of That’s Nice LLC, a research-driven marketing agency with 20 years dedicated to life sciences. Nigel harnesses the strategic capabilities of Nice Insight, the research arm of That’s Nice, to help companies communicate science-based visions to grow their businesses. Mr. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with honors from London College.