HKBIO wants to help biotech companies reach a wider audience, here is how it’s making that happen.
From eradicating diseases to improving crop resistance to insects, biotech is truly one of the most important parts of modern science. One of the places that have made significant strides in biotechnology is Hong Kong. As of 2021, Hong Kong has emerged as the biggest fundraising hub for biotech in Asia and the second-largest in the world.
To take HK to even greater heights, Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization (HKBIO) organized the BIOHK2022 Convention to showcase the greatest minds in the biotech industry and their innovations in the past year. The convention took place between December 14-17, 2022, featuring biotech inventions for combating the COVID-19 virus. To give you a sense of what the biotech industry is working on, we got in touch with HKBIO.
Why Hong Kong needs a convention like BIOHK
Before we even begin to discuss this year’s convention, it is important to learn why having one in Hong Kong is so important. As we already mentioned, HK is a major hub for biotech funding. A reason behind this is the introduction of Chapter 18A to the listing rules of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) in April 2018. This chapter allows for the listing of pre-revenue biotech startups on the HKEX. As of 2022, 48 pre-revenue biotech companies have been listed on the HKEX and have successfully raised US$14.4 billion.
HKBIO believes that this makes Hong Kong a land of opportunities for anyone wishing to expand their business in Asia. They also suggest that HK’s position as an international financial center also makes it a very attractive site for investors and biotech firms alike. The city offers a chance for investors and firms to meet people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. This can give biotech companies an opportunity to not only meet their peers from other countries but also gain access to international funding.
Moreover, attending an HK-based convention is a gateway into the Chinese market. It allows investors to meet biotech companies from across China in one spot. It also spares Chinese startups the effort of attending multiple conventions, helping them engage with international investors all in one spot. All of this makes the BIOHK convention the place to be for anyone trying to make it in the biotech industry.
What does the BIOHK convention include?
BIOHK consists of three parts. The first is an exhibition where companies can showcase their brand-new products to people from around the world. The second is a conference and pitching session where companies can participate in discussions on the latest developments in the industry. And finally, there are one-to-one partnering opportunities wherein companies can connect and engage with an international network of experts.
This year, the convention featured 160 speakers, 7 symposiums, 12 forums, 8 roundtable discussions and 3 workshops. Some of the topics BIOHK touched upon include the impact of investment and collaboration on cancer research, Hong Kong’s role as a leader in healthcare funding, non-invasive prenatal testing, the challenges facing life sciences companies, digital health and healthcare AI. What’s more, the convention also offered pitch training for startups and workshops on themes like intellectual property and cancer eradication.
Innovations from BIOHK2022
Given that the main purpose of BIOHK is to highlight the latest innovation in biotechnology, there is no way we can talk about the convention without discussing some of the unique products displayed there.
One such product is the Bioradar System created by Hai Kang Life to combat pneumonia. Each year, pneumonia leads to 2.5 million deaths around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has surely made things worse, as a lung infection caused by the COVID-19 virus can lead to pneumonia. What makes this disease so deadly is that the community of bacteria and viruses that lead to pneumonia varies from person to person. So, a treatment that works for one person may not necessarily work for others.
As the name suggests, Bioradar System is a radar that scans patient samples and finds the presence of unseen pathogens using nucleic acid detection. While traditional pneumonia tests take 48 to 72 hours, Bioradar gives you results in less than an hour. It helps doctors detect what kind of bacteria population leads to pneumonia in a patient’s body in a much quicker and more efficient manner. They can then devise a treatment plan catered specifically to that patient and, in turn, improves the patient’s chances of survival.
Antigen rapid testing quantitative system
Another product worth mentioning here is the antigen rapid test quantitation system: ART-Quant developed by DNA-Tech Limited. The product uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze antigen rapid test results. It not only tells you whether you have COVID-19 but also analyzes your sample to find out the degree of infection.
Based on the degree of infection, ART-Quant gives the patient a detailed report on how they should care for themselves. This invention will help increase the scope of telemedicine as a way to care for COVID-19 patients.
Mediscan by Gense Technologies also deserves special recognition. Mediscan is a portable medical imaging device that allows for preventative screening at home and in elderly care centers and clinics. The device is like a belt you can wear right under your chest. It can be used to monitor lung, kidney and liver function for a quick five-minute scan.
Unlike traditional X-ray tests, Mediscan doesn’t expose you to any radiation or require a trained medical professional to operate. Once the test is done, the patient gets a detailed, easy-to-understand report of their condition.
Of course, these are only a few of the hundreds of businesses that participated in BIOHK. The convention had over 6,900 real-time attendees and 740,000 online visitors. HKBIO believes that 2023 would be an even bigger year for the convention. If you are interested in learning more about this year’s BIOHK convention and following up on the trends in biotech, make sure to visit BIOHK’s website.
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Header image courtesy of BIOHK’s website.