The Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology Limited (HKIB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), launched a 3-year project titled “GMP Product Development and Technical Support Platform for Traditional Oral Solid Proprietary Chinese Medicine Products” (The Project) in 2015, with the generous support of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) and a donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (The Trust). The Project aims at providing a platform for the manufacturing process development and technical support of oral solid dosage pharmaceutical traditional Chinese medicinal products. The project was completed in March 2019 and the opening ceremony was held today (7 May) at HKIB. Officiating at the ceremony were Ms. Annie Choi, Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, Ms. Jasmine Chung, Executive Manager, Charities (Grant Making – Rehabilitation and Medical), The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Professor Chan Wai-Yee, Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President of CUHK, and Professor Christopher Cheng, Managing Director of HKIB.
In recent years, the Chinese medicine industry has been developing rapidly and has become an integral part of Hong Kong’s healthcare system. Countries around the world including Japan, Korea and the US are also gradually accepting Chinese medicinal products. The application and development of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) is an important element of modern medicine. Back in 2009, the Hong Kong Task Force on Economic Challenges had already recommended the development of Chinese medicine as one of the six industries in which Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages. However, the vast majority of the local pCm manufacturers are small to medium sized businesses, and many of them lack the necessary skill sets and capacity to comply with GMP requirements and this raises concerns on the safety and quality of Chinese medicine. It is therefore crucial to provide support to the local manufacturers to overcome such challenges.
Professor Chan Wai-Yee, Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President of CUHK, said in a welcome speech, “The pharmaceutical industry is a typical high-tech industry driven by innovation. Most leading pharmaceutical companies in the world are also R&D-type companies. Hong Kong must first build a good management culture for Chinese medicine manufacturing in order to realise the goal set ten years ago.”
The Hong Kong Jockey Club believed that the launch of the platform helped promote the sustainable development of Chinese medicine, nurture more talents in the industry and improve public health in the long term. The Club has long been supporting the development and research of Chinese medicine, which is in line with the government policy in promoting Chinese medicine education and development in recent years.
The opening ceremony was followed by a video introducing the operation and latest equipment of the GMP production plant. It also featured the daily operation of the quality control laboratory.
After the video show, Mr. Tommy Li Ying-Sang, Chief President of Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Industry Association said, “To implement GMP production in Hong Kong, manufacturers need to invest tens of millions of Hong Kong dollars and the return is extremely disproportionate to the investment. The availability of this GMP platform would allow contract manufacturing services to those who need help. This would definitely benefit the local development of traditional Chinese medicine drug industry, as well as the development of markets outside Hong Kong. I hope that different government sectors would offer more support to the local Chinese medicine industry.”
The opening ceremony ended with a closing remarks by Professor Christopher Cheng, Managing Director of HKIB. Professor Cheng is grateful to all the support from various stakeholders, and said that various aspects of cooperation are crucial for the development of the Chinese medicine industry in Hong Kong. As long as we work together, the idea of developing Chinese medicine as one of the six major industries in Hong Kong could be realised.