China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are rapidly becoming world leaders in cell and gene therapy research and innovation, fueled by significant public and private investment and streamlined regulations that are spurring breakthroughs in the field.
All three countries have long been leaders in the overlapping fields of biomedical research and treatment: gene therapy, which uses genetic materials to manipulate patients’ cells, and cell therapy, which involves transplanting whole cells into a patient. Both therapies are promising for the treatment of cancer and other acquired and inherited diseases.
Now, with indications that the two therapies may play an important role in treating COVID-19, demand for them is likely to grow. Therefore, the four countries are poised to profit. Korea, already a world leader in cell therapy due to its well-developed plastic surgery market, has passed new laws making it easier to conduct clinical trials on the therapy. Japanese investors have been putting funds into gene therapy, and the Japanese government has been making it easier to gain approval of the treatments. China, where dozens of companies are competing in the field, is funding research into genome editing and speeding approvals of new therapies at a rapid clip.