Jun 16, 2021

Frontera and PPD drive Suzhou's biotech boom

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Two new developments involving Frontera and PPD confirm Suzhou's status as a focal point for gene therapy and biotech

Frontera Therapeutics Co has broken ground on a 4,000sqm facility at Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu, China.

The site will house the GMP manufacturing cleanrooms for drug substance and drug product, GMP quality control testing labs, the process development pilot plants, clinical testing labs and is designed for the clinical manufacturing and the initial commercial manufacturing of Frontera's rAAV gene therapy products.

Ni Qian, Vice Director of Suzhou Industrial Park Administration Committee (SIPAC), said its mission is to bring treatment solutions to patients in China and globally. "Frontera has made rapid progress and remarkable achievements in less than one year, as multiple products have already been advanced to the preclinical development stage," he said.

Dr. Yong Dai, Co-Founder and CEO of Frontera, said it aspires to establish a cost-effective, scalable, local manufacturing platform in China to develop and produce high quality, affordably priced rAAV gene therapies for the China market.

"The emerging rAAV gene therapy industry in China is facing great challenges in Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC), including optimizing production process and expanding the production scale for the commercialisation," he said.

"Frontera has rapidly built up a world-class team with extensive experiences of the rAAV product development, consisting of research and preclinical development, CMC development and GMP manufacturing, clinical development, and regulatory filling talents."

Suzhou remains a focal point for biotech and vaccine development.

PPD recently opened its new multipurpose laboratory to support Western and China-based pharmaceutical and biotech companies managing China research studies. The 67,000sq ft facility in the Suzhou New District, Jiangsu Province, offers bioanalytical, biomarker and vaccine laboratory services to support trials across all phases of pharmaceutical development.

The company anticipates adding approximately 300 highly skilled professionals over the next three years as a result of the expansion, and the new lab supplements the company’s existing Shanghai central lab, established in 2015.

Enterprises engaging in manufacturing and in the ‘three emerging industries’ –  biomedicine, nanotechnology, and AI – as well as headquarter enterprises can secure attractive rewards, rent subsidies, and other subsidies at the Suzhou Industrial Park, which is located 20 minutes from Shanghai and five hours from Beijing. In the AI industry, it wants to achieve the industrialisation of AI technology and foster a world-class AI industrial cluster. 

The G7 Group launched an infrastructure investment push aimed at countering China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While no extra state funding for infrastructure schemes had been confirmed, the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) plan, part of the G7’s infrastructure investment, looks to attract private finance (click here).


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Aug 3, 2021

Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project

2 min
Masdar and Indonesian electrical power organisation PT PLN and have started constructing a 145MW photovoltaic (PV) floating solar project in West Java

UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank. 

Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”

Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase. 

During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives. 

“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added. 

 Facts about solar energy

  1. Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
  2. The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
  3. China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone. 

Image: Masdar

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