The new crown epidemic has swept the world. Although the traditional Chinese medicine and medical industry faces many challenges in the epidemic, the domestic epidemic has tended to slow down and the epidemic is still spreading abroad. Today, there are more views regarding the epidemic as a long-term opportunity for the industry in the future. However, the relevant industries with visible market changes are mainly concentrated in the short-term incremental areas after the outbreak, such as testing kits and protective products.
At present, positive progress in the research and development of domestically produced new crown vaccines continues to come, but the latest news on the research and development of specific drugs for new crown pneumonia has not yet appeared. After the epidemic has “activated” the pharmaceutical industry to a certain extent from a global scale, can biomedicine innovation see a new development trend in the future? In this track where global companies participate, can domestic pharmaceutical companies achieve “leading” in overtaking in corners?
short-term incremental opportunities
Dr. Tang Jian, a returning medical entrepreneur and biomedicine research and development expert, told the "Daily Business News" reporter that the current impact of the epidemic on the pharmaceutical industry is mainly reflected in two short-term incremental opportunities for nucleic acid, antibody and other testing reagents and protective equipment. In the long run, the impact of the new crown epidemic on the overall environment will be reflected in the increase in the importance of the whole society on the medical and pharmaceutical industries, the further expansion and enrichment of public medical resources, the expansion and improvement of the medical system, and the attraction of social resources into the medical field. , And may form a certain concentration of Internet medical treatment such as telemedicine.
“Due to the high attention of governments around the world, the research and development of the new crown vaccine has made relatively good progress. The epidemic of infectious diseases is time-effective, so pharmaceutical companies are cautious in developing drugs in response to the epidemic. The SARS virus that suddenly appeared in 2003 has still not There is no specific medicine because there are almost no pharmaceutical companies to develop targeted drugs. This is the same situation with the new coronary pneumonia. Pharmaceutical companies will observe and evaluate the possible duration of the epidemic, the intensity of the demand for specific drugs, and the possibility of developing specific drugs The time required, financial costs, etc. It is not ruled out that those pharmaceutical companies that have been engaged in antiviral research and development may immediately deploy drug research for new coronaviruses or conduct improved research for drugs already on the market. However, the research and development of new drugs for new crowns should be started. It's difficult." Tang Jian said.
In the early stage of the epidemic, due to the impact of production capacity, there was a large gap in protective equipment such as medical masks and medical protective clothing, and there were also large gaps in protective masks and testing reagents for daily use. However, with the continuous increase in subsequent production capacity, and the layout of protective equipment production lines by many non-medical device manufacturers such as Foxconn and BYD, the above situation has been effectively alleviated. The supply capacity of nucleic acid testing companies is also constantly improving.
Tang Jian said that the current epidemic has brought short-term growth opportunities for nucleic acid detection kits, antibody detection kits and protective equipment. At present, the domestic epidemic has gradually stabilized, and many kit manufacturers and protective equipment manufacturers have begun to focus on overseas markets. He believes that in the future industry, companies that have obtained domestic and foreign registration certificates, have a high degree of automation, and have a variety of protective product pipelines have better development prospects.
Long-term innovation opportunity: Internet and artificial intelligence
The Ernst & Young (China) Corporate Consulting Company report pointed out that in the medium and long term, the epidemic is having a subtle impact on the pharmaceutical and medical industry, which may bring about changes in the development focus of the industry and the reshaping of business models.
Ernst & Young believes that from the perspective of the government, due to the significant impact of the epidemic, the pain points of traditional medical care have been fully exposed, such as the scarcity and imbalance of medical resources, and medical services may be limited. It is expected that the government will pay more attention to the development of the medical and health industry after the epidemic. ; Judging from the current policy trend, the grassroots-oriented innovative medical system and innovative insurance payment models such as hierarchical diagnosis and treatment, medical consortium, family doctor system, and community first diagnosis will obtain rare development opportunities.
At the same time in the hospital, the information reform is expected to develop rapidly. According to Ernst & Young, since the construction of Internet hospitals in the past is still in the preliminary stage of development, Internet hospitals have played a very important role in this epidemic. “The policies that can be expected in the future include the deployment of Internet diagnosis and treatment consulting services, deregulation of online prescriptions, and medical insurance payments. It may be included in the Internet hospital system. These will become important forces to promote the realization of an ecological closed loop of Internet hospitals. We believe that the Internet will be deeply integrated into the hospital process in the future, and the hospital and medical consortium will be built into a real Internet hospital, which can not only do simple consultations, but also And there will be functional services such as joint consultations, report interpretation, and online medical insurance settlements."
Regarding the development opportunities brought by Internet medical services in the post-epidemic period, Soochow Securities Research Report pointed out that Internet medical services will accelerate the outflow of prescriptions and accelerate the integration of the pharmacy industry. According to the research report, my country's drug retail market currently accounts for about 23.5% of the entire drug terminal market, and there is still a large gap with developed countries. Due to policy-oriented hospitals to reduce the proportion of drugs, the outflow of prescriptions remains stable every year. Data show that the proportion of medicines in public hospitals dropped from 41.8% to 28.7% from 2010 to 2018, and the growth rate of medicine revenue dropped from 16.3% to 1.4%. "We believe that the trend of prescription outflow has been set, and the Internet + medical insurance policy in the post-epidemic period will further accelerate the prescription outflow process, and chain pharmacies are expected to benefit.
On the other hand, the "AI+Drug Research and Development" track has received more and more attention during the epidemic. In January of this year, Alibaba Cloud announced that all AI computing power will be freely available to public scientific research institutions around the world to accelerate the development of new drugs and vaccines for new coronary pneumonia; in February, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a proposal to give play to the effects of artificial intelligence and optimize AI algorithms and computing power. Facilitate research and development of drugs such as viral gene sequencing, vaccine and drug development, and protein screening.
Regarding the use of AI in the field of drug research and development, Tang Jian pointed out that the current related trends mostly stay at the level of news reports, and have not yet seen the manifestation of specific results. AI companies themselves are not drug development companies, but can cooperate with pharmaceutical companies to help drugs Companies improve the efficiency of drug development.
In addition to its possible role in the new drug and vaccine research and development center, the Ernst & Young report pointed out that AI can also be used in the auxiliary diagnosis system to effectively shorten the time for diagnosis report issuance, auxiliary diagnosis and treatment, and literature inquiry. It also plays a role in reducing cross-infection and event warning. Important role. However, Ernst & Young also mentioned that the current impact of AI in the epidemic is still limited, and the impact of the epidemic on hospital operations and patient visits has not been completely eliminated.
Pharmaceutical company R&D: It is still recommended to focus on advantageous areas
Although the spread of the new crown epidemic around the world has disrupted the lives and economic order of people in various countries, the field of research and development of new drugs, which has high hopes, seems to be in a state of powerlessness. A statistics conducted by Sina Pharmaceuticals in May of this year showed that there were 139 transactions in the research and development cooperation of new crown drugs in the first four months of 2020. Among these transactions, non-government-led, funding mainly came from the cooperation of enterprises. 55%.
Among these 139 cooperations, about 56% of them are in the early stage of research and development, about 9.3% are in the clinical trial stage, and the rest are "production supply", "service", "sponsorship", etc. Up to now, in addition to occasional good news about the new crown vaccine, the development of specific drugs can be described as "long road."
Tang Jian told the reporter of "Daily Economic News" that due to the timeliness of the epidemic and the long development process of new drugs, it can be seen that no SARS specific drugs have been released until now, and domestic investment institutions are better at investing in "model" projects. The investment community's investment in industries including drug research and development has also slowed down from 2018.
Tang Jian believes that the possible directions for the development of new drugs related to the new crown are mainly those that have done coronavirus research before, and the team with the research and development background will conduct re-study; or conduct research on the indications of some old drugs and new use, and start the research and development of new specific drugs. Maybe "the probability of success is low."
"Although everyone is paying special attention to the epidemic, what has not changed is that China's cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and tumors are still ranked in the top list. The number of patients is large, and the demand for drugs is also great. In the epidemic In the past, most companies did drug development around these indications. How they did it before will continue to do so after the epidemic. For example, hypertension, there are two to three billion patients in the country, and more than 100 million patients with diabetes. Discolored tumors, these disease fields are full of expectations for new drugs, and companies will still focus on these."
He said, “The pharmaceutical industry still cannot meet the people’s demand for good, high-quality medicines. This contradiction has always existed. But we are not just watching and have no way to solve it. Each pharmaceutical company will adapt to its own situation. Changes in the market and the general environment. The company must have strong adaptability, adapt to the general environment, and focus on its own strengths and expertise. You must have a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do, and you should not be hot-headed and just chase Hotspots, throw away their original things. Companies still have to have their own expertise and patience. The pharmaceutical industry is a high-input, long-term industry, and companies must adapt to this law."
"Pharmaceutical development will maintain the original pace. Competent companies, companies that have done antibiotics or research and development before, and have particularly strong financial strength, may try to make new crown drugs. But for more SMEs, what they are doing is still What do you continue to do, because the epidemic will eventually pass. For example, our company will continue to pay attention to diabetes and tumors. More patients at home and abroad in these fields are still looking forward to the emergence of new drugs." Tang Jian said.
Talking about whether the Chinese medicine industry, which has performed outstandingly in the epidemic, can use this opportunity to go abroad and enter the high-end market in Europe and the United States. Tang Jian believes that due to the incompatibility of the evaluation system of Chinese medicine and Western medicine, it is difficult to see Chinese medicine really go to Europe in the short and medium term market.