AstraZeneca has partnered with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP) to set up an incubation program for biomedical startups. The program is designed to attract and support local and overseas startups working to improve the treatment and diagnosis of cancer.
Startups accepted into the program will gain access to the laboratories and other working space at HKSTP, as well as up to HK$6 million ($770,000) and support services including opportunities to meet with potential partners and investors. AstraZeneca will contribute to the support services by putting startups in touch with people who can provide industry insights.
The involvement of AstraZeneca extends the support package beyond Hong Kong. AstraZeneca plans to leverage its networks in mainland China and the rest of the world to help startups find overseas opportunities.
Hong Kong government official Alfred Sit set out the aims of the alliance: “The hands-on experience and extensive networks of AstraZeneca coming together with the state-of-the-art incubation support of HKSTPC will complement the strengths of each other in facilitating the development of biotech start-ups. Hopefully, these start-ups will excel in technical and business knowledge under AstraZeneca's mentorship and in solution development with HKSTPC's incubation support.”
Hong Kong has emerged as a major source of IPO and follow-on funding since its stock exchange began allowing pre-revenue biotechs to list in 2018. Some of the companies listed on the exchange, such as SinoMab, are based out of Hong Kong, but many others are from mainland China
HKSTP, which has existed since 2001, wants to give Hong Kong a biotech R&D base to complement its financing strength. In supporting that effort, AstraZeneca has secured itself a close look at oncology startups with aspirations to join the HKSTP incubator.