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AI, mRNA vaccine...experts eye latest biomedicine trends in GZ

“Currently, AI is being used to assist in the diagnosis of cancer patients’ very serious infections, organ transplantation, and situations of patients in intensive care units, as well as fungal infections of the skin, nails, and hair, as well as systemic function. Therefore, the goal is to increase both the speed and accuracy of diagnosis.” Malcolm Richardson, Chief Scientist of Richardson Bio-Tech, told GDToday during the first Guangzhou International BioPharm Conference. 

With the theme of “industry” highlighted, the conference is being held in Huangpu District from May 25-27.

A total of 12 biomedical projects were signed at the conference, and 14 industry leaders were hired as consultants for the development of the biomedical industry in Guangzhou (Huangpu).

(Photo provided to GDToday)

In 2019, the Richardson Bio-Tech set up its Guangzhou Center for Fungal Diagnostics and Research on the city’s International Bio Island. “Why are we here? We like being here,” Malcolm Richardson said, adding that Huangpu’s energy deeply impressed him.

Riina Richardson, Chair of the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (UK SMI) Bacteriology Working Group, elaborated that there are three areas where AI can help with fungal diagnostics.

(Riina Richardson & Malcolm Richardson/photo provided to GDToday)

“We need AI to help with the high volume of work in the laboratory. It can also help with patients’ more important samples: when they are in intensive care and start to go downhill, you start to worry that maybe it’s a fungus,” she said, adding, “Since fungal infections can’t be diagnosed with just one test. We can train AI to help to bring all that complicated, different data together and create a report.”

The Guangzhou WestVac R&D and production project of Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Wei Yuquan’s team is a key project introduced by Huangpu District and Guangzhou Development District in the past two years.

(Wei Yuquan/photo provided to GDToday)

On May 17, the recombinant multivalent COVID-19 protein vaccine against XBB variants by WestVac Biopharma/West China Medical Center and Sichuan University was approved for clinical trials by China’s National Medical Products Administration. It is the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine against the XBB variants and more, which has entered clinical trials.

Wei said at the conference, “In the future, WestVac Biopharma will continue to develop in Huangpu and translate the latest and best research results.”

Hui Aimin, Founder of EnCureGen Pharma, has recently started his company in Huangpu, Guangzhou,which focuses on oncology, autoimmune diseases, and vaccines for infectious diseases, with mRNA as the technology platform.

(Hui Aimin/photo provided to GDToday)

Speaking of the reason for settling here, Hui said Guangzhou is one of the most economically advanced cities, and strong economic strength is the foundation of cultural and technological development. In 2022, Huangpu District has achieved a GDP of over 431 billion RMB.

He furthered that Guangzhou has a good R&D ecosystem, with rich resources in education, science, and medicine, and the developing Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area provides more international opportunities. Most importantly, the governments provide a series of supporting resources for comprehensive enterprise assistance, Hui added.

Founded in 2013, the Huangpu-based Guangzhou Henovcom Bioscience Co., Ltd. also sees the latest trends in mRNA therapeutics. The company has recently made a breakthrough with novel modified nucletide compounds for RNA capping and application thereof, which can be used as the capping agent for producing mRNAs in a “one-pot” process. The capped mRNA can be directly translated and expressed in cells and in vivo. This innovative technology will boost mRNA therapeutic development.

Larry Zhang, Chairman of the company, noted that the company must focus on the core technology to develop the leading advantages in innovative medicines.

(Larry Zhang/photo provided to GDToday)

Having been in Huangpu for a decade, Zhang has deep feelings for this place. He told GDToday, “Huangpu has an advantageous environment, including administrative service, business, living and working environment, and an atmosphere of technological innovation. In terms of these aspects, Huangpu takes a leading position in China, and that’s why many companies choose to settle here.”

Currently, more than 3,000 biomedical enterprises are clustered in this district, with a biomedicine and health industry that exceeds 200 billion RMB.

Reporter | Hannah

Editor | Wing, Steven, Jasmine, James

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