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Health collaborations forged at CIIE begin to bear fruit

Zhou Wenting
Updated: Jan 19,2021 08:55    China Daily

Two months after the third China International Import Expo ended in Shanghai, some exhibitors from the healthcare sector have disclosed that collaborations forged during the event have now materialized in the form of new drugs, innovative systems and technologies benefiting patients and the general public.

It transpires that several agreements were clinched between pharmaceutical multinationals and local healthcare authorities, institutions, schools and enterprises during the third CIIE.

Their partnerships' objective is to exploit inherent advantages and synergies in order to make the healthcare ecosystem in the country more innovative.

Executives of US-headquartered Boston Scientific said they had forged a strategic collaboration with Vivolight, a medical imaging device and technology provider based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, during the third CIIE.

Their partnership may help drive improved clinical outcomes and technological progress in percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, procedures at hospitals.

This is said to be the first-ever strategic cooperation between a foreign enterprise and a local counterpart in the field of coronary intervention imaging.

The collaboration combines Boston Scientific's advantage in intravascular ultrasound and Vivolight's competitiveness in optical coherence tomography to provide patients with more accurate medical solutions for better treatment.

Experts said PCI procedures guided by imaging techniques such as IVUS and vascular OCT can significantly reduce the incidence of serious adverse events by making up for the lack of coronary angiography.

Industry experts said IVUS applied in intervention has been regarded as the "gold standard" in accordance with guidance from Europe and the United States.

However, in China, only 8 percent of PCI procedures are guided by imaging techniques, which compares with 15 percent in the US and more than 90 percent in Japan.

"For Boston Scientific, an important impetus of continuous growth in the China market is to collaborate with local partners to satisfy more local patients' unmet needs through diversified innovative channels," the company said in a written reply.

Boston Scientific also said that together with Vivolight, it will jointly study firsthand clinical feedback and accelerate the upgrade of products. It further said the technology will soon be applied in more than 2,000 hospitals in China and benefit more patients.

Danish biopharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk said it collaborated with Microsoft during the third CIIE to develop a smart robot that can answer patients' queries about diabetes and help popularize knowledge in the disease area.

The medical consultant robot will be launched for public use later this month.
Novo Nordisk said the robot shows how collaborations could create synergies between two unrelated corporates, one an industry leader in the diabetes area and the other a pioneer in artificial intelligence and cloud technology.

"Through this collaboration, we aimed to build a smart Q&A platform in Chinese so that more of the country's public can have access to authoritative, in-depth knowledge about the chronic disease. This will ultimately help patients better manage disease development and improve their living quality," said Christine Zhou, senior vice-president and president of China branch at Novo Nordisk.

Pharmaceutical multinationals that took part in the third CIIE said innovative therapies unveiled at the event have begun to benefit Chinese patients already.

For instance, Vyndamax, a drug developed by US-based Pfizer, is the world's first to treat a kind of rare, potentially fatal heart disease. It was officially marketed in China during the third CIIE and was first prescribed at a Beijing hospital on Dec 7.

Since then, the oral drug has been prescribed at 10 medical institutions across the country and numerous patients are said to have benefited from it. Previously, such patients tend to survive only an average of 2 to 3.5 years after diagnosis.