International Talent Flocks to Innovation-driven Chengdu

Authors: China Daily


A hotbed for startups and entrepreneurs, Chengdu is set to attract more professionals from home and abroad to start businesses with its innovation-friendly environment and policy incentives.
Its goal is to build itself into an internationally influential innovation and entrepreneurship hub, local officials said.
Li Jin, a returnee from Britain, said the city has advantages in terms of education, the pharmaceutical industry and policies.
"The government offered me rent allowance and exemption, lab subsidies and financial investment when I decided to start my own business several years ago," said the 54-year-old entrepreneur, who is now chairman and chief executive of HitGen, a biotech firm focused on innovative drugs and research projects.
"As a startup enterprise in the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, what we need most are a stable team and support from the local government. Chengdu gives me confidence in all those factors."
The city is home to 56 universities and 30 national-level research institutes with 45 key laboratories and research and development platforms.
Last year the Chengdu government launched a special fund of at least 2 billion yuan ($290 million) for talented people and initiated a series of incentive policies to attract professionals with financial aid of 1.2 million yuan to 50 million yuan.
Li , born in Youyang county, Chongqing, in 1963, holds a PhD in macromolecular science from Aston University and a post doctorate from the University of Manchester in Britain.
He founded HitGen in 2012, and the company has established more than 20 early stage discovery projects related to oncology, ophthalmology and cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Last month the world's premier biopharmaceutical company Pfizer joined with HitGen to explore a DNAencoded library based on HitGen's synthesis and screening technologies.
Developed by HitGen, the DNAencoded library, also known as "the seed bank for medicines", is the basis for R&D in new drugs.
"Based on the library, we have already synthesized a total of 30 billion drug-like DNA-encoded chemical compounds with new structures and diversities," he said. "We will continue to improve the screening ability for known targets spots and unknown ones."
Li said the medicine seeds in the library are increasing and are expected to reach 100 billion after two years.
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