US sanctions on China could extend to biotech, official says



China might also lose access to other types of critical U.S. technologies, including biotechnology, said Commerce Department undersecretary Alan Estevez. Areas “on my radar” for possible additional export controls include quantum computing, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, he added. Notably, biotech firms often maintain a presence in both China and the US to leverage the strengths of both countries. Notably, the sanctions have been imposed on China by the Obama administration. Notably, biotech firms employ executives with experiences in China, the US and other countries.




On the heels of the Biden administration’s decision to impose sweeping chip sanctions on China, there are signs that China might also lose access to other types of critical U.S. technologies, including biotechnology, an area that has historically seen close cooperation between the two countries.


Areas “on my radar” for possible additional export controls include quantum computing, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, said Alan Estevez, Commerce Department undersecretary for industry and security, according to The Washington Post.


The message is worrying for an industry that’s intrinsically global. Biotech is one of the few areas, alongside climate policy, that transcends nationalities and boundaries between countries. Scientific progress in China could well save lives in the U.S.


The globalization of the sector has also resulted in greater efficiency. As we wrote before, biotech firms often maintain a presence in China and the U.S. to leverage the different strengths of both sides. In China, they harness large reams of patient data, fast and cost-efficient clinical trials, as well as local tax cuts, government funding and subsidized offices to advance their research.


At the same time, they keep operations in the U.S. to tap the country’s R&D talent and work toward FDA regulatory approval and commercialization. It’s not uncommon to see biotech startups increasingly labeling themselves “born global” and employing executives with experiences in China, the U.S. and other countries.


Needleless injection device maker NovaXS, for example, was founded by a Berkeley researcher who headquarters the company in the U.S. but conducts clinical trials in China. Xtalpi, one of China’s most-funded drug discovery startups, conducts research and business development in Boston, where it “maintains close communication with professors and experts from the research community as well as from the pharmaceutical industry,” while keeping multiple R&D centers across China.

たとえば、Needleless Injection Device Maker Novaxsは、米国に本社を置くが中国で臨床試験を実施しているバークレーの研究者によって設立されました。中国で最も資金提供されている薬物発見の新興企業の1つであるXtalpiは、ボストンで研究とビジネス開発を実施しています。そこでは、「研究コミュニティや製薬業界の教授や専門家との緊密なコミュニケーションを維持しています」と、中国全土の複数のR&Dセンターを維持しています。。

When asked previously why the drug discovery firm Insilico straddles China and the U.S., founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov compared the space to the early semiconductor industry where “research was done mostly in the U.S. while hardware production happened in China.” Eastern Chinese city Wuxi especially has emerged as a global hub for contract research organizations, which conduct outsourced work for international pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

以前に尋ねられたとき、創業者兼CEOのアレックス・Zhavoronkovを、創業者兼CEOのアレックス・Zhavoronkovを、「ハードウェア生産が中国でハードウェア生産が行われている間に研究が行われた」初期の半導体業界と、創設者兼CEOのアレックス・Zhavoronkovを比較した創設者兼CEOであるAlex Zhavoronkovを比較した理由を以前に尋ねられたとき。東中国の都市Wuxiは、特に契約研究機関のグローバルハブとして浮上しており、国際医薬品および医療機器会社の外部委託作業を実施しています。

Biotechnology is “a highly complex, uncertain and very risky process that fails 95-99% of the time if you start from target discovery. To put one drug on the market, you need 10-15 years, $2-3 billion dollars and the process fails 95-99% of the time,” Zhavoronkov observed.


“International collaboration in biotechnology is a way to share this huge risk and cost. And by limiting collaboration in this field or even talking about it, the politicians demonstrate a lack of fundamental understanding of the industry and disregard for the health and well-being of their electorate,” he added.


Indeed, treating the biotech sector with a security-driven approach could harm U.S. competitiveness, argued two U.S. scholars specializing in China, writing for ChinaFile: Unlike the semiconductor and telecommunication sectors, whose development depends on expensive equipment and hard-to-acquire manufacturing expertise, barriers to entry in biotechnology are low. Likewise, as Eric Lander’s now infamous mapping of CRISPR’s development illustrates, both foundational research and key innovations in biotechnology often take place in the public domain and build on incremental advancements made across the globe. When breakthroughs, like employing CRISPR as a means of gene-editing, do occur they spread through global scientific networks with little heed for national boundaries. Consequently, it is not a zero-sum industry in which a single innovation sets any firm or country ahead for a prolonged period.

実際、バイオテクノロジーセクターをセキュリティ主導のアプローチで扱うことは、米国の競争力を損なう可能性があると、中国を専門とする2人の米国の学者がChinafileに書いています。、バイオテクノロジーへの参入障壁は低いです。同様に、Eric Landerの現在の悪名高いCRISPRの開発のマッピングが示すように、基本的な研究とバイオテクノロジーの主要な革新の両方がパブリックドメインで行われ、世界中で行われた漸進的な進歩に基づいて構築されています。CRISPRを遺伝子編集の手段として採用するなど、ブレークスルーが発生すると、国境にはほとんど注意が払われていないグローバルな科学的ネットワークを介して広がります。その結果、単一のイノベーションが長期間にわたって先を行っているゼロサム業界ではありません。


US sanctions on China could extend to biotech, official says