Location, location, biotech

Why Chinese investor Xuechao Wang made the move from real estate to biotech

Chinese real estate investor Xuechao Wang placed a bet on a domestic cancer start up 16 years ago, which helped pave the way for the country’s first homegrown targeted cancer therapy. Now, market growth in China driven by increased access to healthcare has him more convinced than ever that a strategic shift to pharmaceuticals is a smart one.

Wang is the major shareholder in Jihe Group Co. Ltd., a Hangzhou investment firm that owns six real estate agencies and has developed and sold 3 million square meters of housing.

The housing market in China barely existed when Wang entered it in the mid-1990s. Now, total real estate investment measures about RMB10 trillion ($1.5 trillion), dwarfing the estimated RMB50 billion ($7.3 billion) for R&D spend on medicines in 2016, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

In 2002, Wang turned his eye to biotech, providing an undisclosed amount of seed funding to oncology newco Betta Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., a domestic company aiming to develop NMEs.

That was a large leap from real estate in terms of expertise, returns and timelines. The Chinese biotech industry was in its infancy while the real estate market was hot and offered much shorter investment timelines.

Today, Wang plans to ramp up

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