(Formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist and MATIMOP)
 
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Bringing Israeli Innovation in Biotech to China

Biological Industries specializes in the development of cell cultures - including chemical solutions that provide all the nutritional needs of CHO cells – and ovarian cells of Chinese hamsters used for the production of proteins by means of genetic engineering. The solutions produced by the company do not include any living components. The company's Chinese partner, T-Mab Biotechnology, serves on the industrial side, growing the cells in the solution. Oddly enough, the flourishing partnership between these two companies developed from both sides - Israel and China - almost simultaneously.
The value of international cooperation expands beyond the boundaries of an individual project, according to David Fiorentini, VP of R&D at Biological Industries Israel Beit HaEmek. Commenting on the company's partnership with China, Fiorentini asserts that: "The value is not only in the collaborative project. We also derive an additional benefit - you learn about what is going on in that country, about the development and the companies in the industry. It can also help with additional products and finding additional potential partners, assuming the company is interested in expanding its activities."

Biological Industries specializes in the development of cell cultures - including chemical solutions that provide all the nutritional needs of CHO cells – and ovarian cells of Chinese hamsters used for the production of proteins by means of genetic engineering. The solutions produced by the company do not include any living components. The company's Chinese partner, T-Mab Biotechnology, serves on the industrial side, growing the cells in the solution. Oddly enough, the flourishing partnership between these two companies developed from both sides - Israel and China - almost simultaneously.

A Connection that Filled in the Missing Piece

MATIMOP published a call for proposals following the signing of an agreement for collaboration with the Jiangsu province in China. "The Chinese company heard about the opportunity for partnership and approached our representative in China. That's how the relationship was formed", shared Fiorentini. With Fiorentini's blessing, a delegation from the company flew to China to invest in several Chinese companies that could be appropriate for developing a partnership, and after impressing the Israeli team, T-Mab was chosen as the Chinese partner for collaboration.

"We made a shared work plan that would essentially integrate our capabilities in development with the use of live components with their capabilities in the field of cell growth. MATIMOP organized a visit in Israel for representatives of the Chinese company, and afterward helped to submit a collaborative application, accompanying us throughout the process until the project got off the ground".

Their relationship with the Chinese company gave Biological Industries Israel Beit HaEmek exactly what they were missing – an industrial company that could evaluate the quality of the products and implement mass production. Fiorentini noted that "the minute that there is a product, they will want to use it, and we can sell the product worldwide to companies in the field of cell growth, for biotechnology production."

 

One Project with China Leads to Further Agreements

 "We made a huge leap," attests Fiorentini, "this project enabled us, throughout the process of development, to evaluate our products through processes of mass production. We are also receiving feedback and adapting the product to be better suited towards the processes that biotechnology companies use". Like many of the companies that work with China, Fiorentini also confirmed that the time needed to enter the Chinese market was shortened significantly. "I think that this relationship adds another dimension to our ability to evaluate our product through mass production and through the systems and methods traditionally used by biotechnology companies. We also gain general exposure to the research and biotechnology industry in China".

 
It is not surprising that Fiorentini noted the advantages of being introduced to the Chinese market. The company has already signed an agreement for a partnership in an additional field. "The Chinese are investing significant amounts of money in the research of life sciences, including facilities, equipment and the people that they are bringing into the field. Our collaboration with a Chinese company exposed us to China and helped us understand how to market our products there".