Report: China readies $1.5B plan to bolster biotech

In a bid to break out of its dependence on manufacturing and cheap labor, the Chinese government is planning to invest $1.5 billion into new drug development between 2011 and 2016. And biotechnology is one of seven emerging industries that the Asian powerhouse will use to spearhead the next big step in its economic development, according to a report in China's 21st Century Business Herald.

The National Development and Reform Commission is leading the effort on biotech, according to the business publication, citing sources close to the development planning. And the details will be unveiled at a major political conference next year, when China will herald its next big five-year plan for the economy. Late last year the NDRC established 20 venture funds to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into new enterprises, ranging from drug development to energy companies.

China has quickly become a central player in the world of drug development, attracting Big Pharma and CROs alike as they take advantage of low-cost scientific help and hope to capitalize on one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

- check out the story from Bloomberg
- read 21st Century Business Herald's piece