Innovation helps Xian Janssen benefit more Chinese patients
Updated 19:42, 08-Sep-2019
Global Business

China hosts the world's second largest pharmaceutical market and faces a wide array of complex and unmet medical needs.

Xian Janssen Pharmaceutical, one of the major players in China's pharmaceutical market, is trying to provide more innovative solutions for Chinese patients, together with authorities and internet giants in the country.

"Now we have a tremendous focus on innovation, and this is heavily supported by the government reform," Asgar Rangoonwala, president of Xian Janssen, told CGTN at the sideline of the China Development Forum Special Session in Beijing.

Rangoonwala on China's healthcare industry

There are 93 million people with chronic hepatitis B in China, about 173 million people with a mental disorder and 114 million with diabetes. Some 36 percent of new lung cancer patients globally are in China and it is projected that by 2030, COPD will kill three million Chinese people a year.

Rangoonwala agreed that China can do a lot more in prevention rather than cure. He emphasized a healthy lifestyle and the role of vaccines.

"Basically, prevention has two components. One is lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is something we as an enterprise are really focusing on. When it comes to prevention from drug perspective, we have a lot of innovation in the vaccine space," he noted.

The president added that Xian Janssen is working closely with government to optimize the ecosystem for vaccination. "We are working on that in a very collaborative way with the NMPA and other players, in order to ensure that China's patients are at the same chance to get vaccinated," Rangoonwala said.

Asgar Rangoonwala, president of Xian Janssen, speaks with CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Asgar Rangoonwala, president of Xian Janssen, speaks with CGTN. /CGTN Photo

Given that there is no Chinese drug maker in the global top 50 lists, the president is bullish on the future of China's healthcare sector, expecting Chinese startups to bring breakthrough innovation from China for the world.

"Our collaboration with Legend Biotech is quite an example, where we work together as a world-class healthcare leader together with a small startup to provide a holistic solution for the world. The level of education, commitment, Chinese talents to bring your innovation for the world and for China is impressive," he shared with CGTN.

Rangoonwala on company's development

Xian Janssen is one of leading players in the fast growing market. Rangoonwala credited company’s success to transformational medical innovation.

"If you don't have breakthrough innovation and transformation medicine to provide to Chinese patient or any patient in the world, and of course you become a commodity company," he said.

The president appreciated the support from the government, which "gives us the opportunity to launch new products, new healthcare solutions for patients much earlier than ever before."

Meanwhile, the company is working with Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba.

The president believed that collaboration with internet giants would provide holistic solutions for patients, not only offering disease understanding and education, but also providing pharmacy service and support.

"We do something different because our vision is basically to provide better outcome for patients. That means what we do is not in e-commerce space, and the focus is really on digital solution to complement drug treatment," he explained.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

Rangoonwala gave an example. "Even oncology, you are sometimes surprised about the treatment duration of patients. Patients are dropping their treatment, because there's no follow-up system in China yet. And we strongly believe digital solution may help here."

Moreover, the president noted that company keeps investing in innovation and talents as well as expanding in China.

He revealed that more innovative products would come into China, and a 400-million-U.S.-dollar investment in Xi'an, which is the most cutting-edge solid pill plant that Janssen has around the world, is to open next month.

He also said that the company would be not complacent, and be always looking for double-digit growth.

"In a country like China, with our investment especially in R&D, with bringing new products in, with trials and so forth, we need to ensure double-digit growth. That's something that we always aspire," Rangoonwala addressed.

Rangoonwala on China-U.S. trade tensions

As one of the major pharmaceutical companies in China, Janssen – under Johnson & Johnson – is among the earliest multinational pharmaceutical firms to enter the China market.

In the face of China-U.S. trade conflicts, Rangoonwala sees limited impact from the uncertainty.

"As a committed global company focused on health care, we are not so much distracted by this kind of tension," the president said.

He added that "we don't see anything which is disturbing our business operation. And we are very happy with the government effort to provide better healthcare solutions for Chinese patients. So for us, it is business as usual, even better than in the past."

Meanwhile, he mentioned that progress in intellectual property (IP) protection is what the pharmaceutical sector is really concerned about.

"If it comes to one concern that's a little bit about the IP protection now," he continued, arguing that "you would really welcome a more clarification, especially for pharmaceutical sector. Because of being innovative, we need protection from copycats, from generics. I think this is quite understandable."