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Published on : Jul 31, 2015

The Chinese researcher, Chen Li, is on the quest to create the billion dollar drug for diabetics, which is the fastest growing patient group in China.

At the last count there were 114 million, which are more than double of 2010 estimate. The numbers are growing because of changing lifestyles and diets, and the genetic susceptibility to the disease. 

Chen, who was earlier a leading scientist with a Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG in China, is working to develop new treatment for diabetes, which according to the scientist said afflicts young and thin\n Chinese than Caucasians.

Due to the unique features of the epidemic that is afflicting Chinese, Chen said that new weapons are needed to fight the disease. Chen is a part of an expanding group of sea-turtle scientists- that comprise Chinese returning back to their land after studying and working overseas, and developing  medicines particularly for fellow citizens at overseas lands.’

Chen stated that for many years innovation in China was regarded as ‘generic drug’, who worked at Roche research lab in New Jersey before he returned back home in 2004. He also stated that China need to develop novel drugs, and the formulations should be suitable for diseases that attacks masses such as cancer or diabetes.

Chen’s company Hua Medicine Ltd, has been able to raise US$46 million since 2010, funded by some prominent biotechnology investors in the US and China.

Robert Nelsen, who is a venture capitalist, co-founder and chairman of Hua, stated that he hoped the company to have as much success as Receptos Inc., which is a biotechnology  
Startup based in San Diego, and was bought by Celgene Corp. this month for US$7.2 billion. 

Receptos, in its early days received funding from ARCH venture partners, and the returns have been among the most lucrative for the company.