The city of Kunming, China has outlined an essential role for hemp in a plan released by the municipal government aimed at local development of the biotechnology industry.
The three-year plan, “Kunming City’s Several Measures to Promote the High-quality Development of the Biomedical Industry” (“Several Measures”), looks to take advantage of a Free Trade Zone and fast-developing infrastructure in Yunnan province for expansion of the biotech sector. Kunming is the Yunnan provincial capital.
The plan specifically targets growth in industrial hemp, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), generic drugs and stem cells among other sectors. The plan targets companies engaged in the cultivation, research and development, production and distribution of biotechnology medicines, TCM, chemical medicines, medical equipment and health products.
The government sees a major role for hemp in traditional Chinese medicines, and has singled out the sector in broad long-term development plans. A growing number of health and bio-technology companies are staking out positions in the hemp production chain, backed by investors driven primarily by the potential for CBD and other cannabinoids, and hemp’s fit in the TCM sector. Many private companies have assets in a thriving CBD center in Yunnan province, where the local government has set up the Kunming International Industrial Hemp Industry Park.
“Several Measures” seeks to “formulate the layout plan for the planting of Chinese medicinal materials in Kunming, with the surrounding Jiaozi Snow Mountain as the core, to create a high-quality Chinese medicinal material production area in the middle of Yunnan.”
The plan envisions building a “first workshop” for Chinese biotech, enhancing R&D and innovation while developing the capital and human resources “to build an important biopharmaceutical industry cluster with distinctive characteristics in southwest China.”
Kunming’s “Several Measures” plan, announced at the beginning of the year, calls for development of large-scale equipment, laboratories, engineering and research centers, and academic outposts in universities and scientific research institutes in Kunming, which are to cooperate and share resources. The program will also support enterprises and R&D firms in Kunming as they seek certification under international non-clinical Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and Good Clinical Practices (GCP) standards.
The “Several Measures” program is offering financial support to Kunming-based companies developing new drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, special medical foods and health foods. Each product can get up to 4 million yuan ($620,000) for a maximum 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) per year for three products available to each company. The local government is also to support enterprises as they participate in national, provincial, and municipal centralized drug procurement bidding.
The “Several Measures” program will also:
- Help enterprises establish foreign registrations and certifications under regimes of the World Health Organization (WHO); the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the European Medicines Agency (EMA); Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA); and other international institutions.
- Speed up the development of customs clearance and establish favorable policies to capitalize on exports.
- Attract capital through the Kunming Industrial Development Equity Investment Fund to jointly set up a special fund for the biomedical industry in Kunming.
- Encourage high-quality biopharmaceutical companies to make full use of domestic and overseas multi-level capital to go public on the Kunming market for financing.