Roundtable Sessions: Pharma Partnering & Investment in Southeast Asia

keywordWe’re now located at the Pharma Partnering Hall where attendees are given the opportunity to visit 12 different roundtable sessions where a greater degree of interaction takes place.

We’ve decided to go with Pharma trends & investment opportunities in Southeast Asia, where it packed the largest crowd among the rest.

The primary focus for the session will revolve around Pharma trends & investment opportunities in Southeast Asia that will be led by Dr Will Liu, one of the most stand-up individuals that I’ve ever encountered and as he initiated the session through getting everyone to introduce themselves, most of the people who communed at the Southeast Asian roundtable came from governmental agencies, private companies, analysts, start-ups and etc.

Dr. Will Liu, Head of External Innovation China at Merck Serono, is responsible for the development of innovative opportunities in life science and biotechnology in the Greater China region. His extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, ranging from drug discovery to business development fuelled by a sparkling personality was noticeable as he led the small audience to share their thoughts and concerns over the partnering and investment issues in Southeast Asia such as:

“The risk appetite in Asian countries is very little compared to Western countries especially when it comes to innovative development and that has to be immediately changed in order for sustainable development in the context of innovation to follow through.”

“I really think that the East meets West concept has a communication breakdown. It’s not that they are unable to speak a common language, they can but the problem is that nothing gets through despite concerted efforts to innovate. Think of it as cowboys in the West charging recklessly into the walls of China. These cowboys want to break down the dynasty of thoughts and provide a different perspective without paying heed to the cultural aspects in business development and the emperors are only looking at the gold where it counts!”

“Funding is always from private sectors and that there is very little government support for the industry especially in China and India due to the tight regulations and policies that take up too much time when it comes to in-out licensing and drug development.”

“India and China has the capability to manufacture, copy and duplicate drugs in short periods of time. They have the land space and the technology unlike the underdeveloped Southeast Asian countries that go to them for drug development. The problem is, that this is where intellectual property and patent theft comes to play and this hinders Pharma partnering and investment opportunities.”

“The million dollar question is, what then remains of Southeast Asia?”

However, not everyone shared the same sentiments for the fate of Southeast Asia with an individual from the roundtable sessions with individuals stating that:

“Singapore and Malaysia is the best place to invest in Southeast Asia. Why? Number one, these two countries have high literacy rates in English among the rest in the region. Malaysia has a very competitive advantage, despite the political problems. It is a viable place for research and cheap to innovate. Singapore is in a better position as it has a great financial support from the government and has political stability.”

The factor of time plays a big role for markets in Southeast Asia. For product innovation to truly kick off, it’s not an overnight success. Proper and structured development takes years and what can be done for governments in Southeast Asian countries is by first tackling the macro issues such as infrastructure, revised regulations & policies so as to cease brain drain leakages.

Unfortunately, the roundtable session that garnered repressed emotions and tensions had to eventually come to an end due to the stipulated time given. Nevertheless, the interactive discussions managed to stimulate the crowd and eased the networking process that took place immediately after.

Next up, “New Pharma Partnering & Investment Opportunitites”


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