Boehringer Ingelheim Launches External Innovation Hub in China

Boehringer Ingelheim Launches External Innovation Hub in China 

  • Boehringer Ingelheim is increasing its efforts to access external innovation in China, recognizing the opportunities offered by the prospering Chinese life science ecosystem, to develop new breakthrough medicines for patients with high unmet medical needs
  • The External Innovation Hub China formalizes these efforts by co-locating business leaders from Boehringer Ingelheim’s partnering functions to facilitate access to a range of collaboration opportunities. Academic and biotech institutions will also have access to the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund  
  • The initiative is one element of Boehringer Ingelheim’s expansion in Asia including recent partnerships in Korea, Singapore and India

Boehringer Ingelheim today announced the launch of its External Innovation Hub in Shanghai, China. The hub integrates Boehringer Ingelheim’s external-facing functions, including its Research Beyond Borders (RBB), Business Development & Licensing (BD&L) and the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) under one roof. The initiative aims to embed life science innovation in China into Boehringer Ingelheim’s global drug discovery and development chain by seeking collaboration and investment opportunities ranging from early to mature stages. Partnerships emerging from the hub’s activities will strengthen Boehringer Ingelheim’s core therapeutic fields, help to meet urgent medical needs, and possibly identify therapeutic areas for future strategic investment. 

“As a family-owned business, we pursue a long-term research and investment vision and are committed to developing breakthrough next-generation therapies”, said Felix Gutsche, President & CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim China, at the launch ceremony and called for collaboration with innovators in China’s biopharmaceutical industry. “We are prepared to leverage the dynamic development of the Chinese life science ecosystem to find the next breakthrough and welcome partners to work with us to foster innovation and improve the lives of patients.”

‘3-in-1’ innovation hub 
The hub brings together business leaders of the partnering functions at Boehringer Ingelheim with life science innovators in China and, along with the BIVF, offers the opportunity to benefit from the synergies of the ‘3-in-1’ approach. RBB is a global research division, which acts as the ‘radar’ for the next big wave of innovation, tasked to explore emerging science and technologies. The BD&L team as well as the BIVF can help further advance scientific approaches into business ideas. The BD&L function drives projects partnerships through tailor-made agreements and joins forces with entrepreneurs and scientists in collaborations, working together on these ideas with the partners to advance innovation. The BIVF operates as a separate legal entity and builds on 10 years’ experience in spinning companies out of academic labs with a seed-financing round. Working based on an evergreen concept, the BIVF team can go along with the company and its founders through several financing rounds until the new technology has demonstrated clinical proof of concept.      

Dr. Weiyi Zhang, Head of Boehringer Ingelheim External Innovation Hub China, said, “This innovative business model will provide one-stop shop solutions for innovators in the biopharmaceutical industry in China and Asia by providing access to early stage research collaborations, strategic partnerships across the value chain as well as equity investment to help convert their creative ideas into reality.”

Science ‘hot spot’ China
Asia is a key region for biopharma research, and China is rapidly ramping up its innovation capabilities in the biopharma industry. Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to increasing its presence in research ‘hot spots’ around the world by establishing innovation hub activities in key locations such as the innovation ecosystem in China’s biopharma industry in order to advance the most exciting and cutting-edge science.  

Boehringer Ingelheim has established collaborations with multiple academic institutions and companies in China and beyond, including strategic partnerships with Tsinghua University and Peking University. Additional collaborations are underway with several research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other scientific organizations. Moreover, Boehringer Ingelheim entered into four partnerships in Korea, Singapore and India over the past 12 months. 

Boehringer Ingelheim entered the Chinese market 25 years ago and has since developed and grown. The company’s activities are characterized by a strong local commitment along the entire value chain, which is reflected in continuous investments in all three of its business areas. These recent investments, such as the opening of an advanced facility for biopharmaceutical development and production, a spin-off from its digital laboratory BI X, and a state-of-the-art production facility for swine vaccines, underline China’s key position within the company’s global network.

Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
Created in 2010, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF) invests in groundbreaking therapeutics-focused biotechnology companies to drive innovation in biomedical research. BIVF is searching for significant enhancements in patient care through pioneering science and its clinical translation by building long-term relationships with scientists and entrepreneurs. BIVF’s focus is to target unprecedented therapeutic concepts addressing high medical needs in immuno-oncology, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and digital health. These may include novel platform technologies to address so far undruggable targets, new generation vaccines and/or new biological entities, such as oncolytic virotherapy.
BIVF takes an active role with its portfolio companies – delivering significant added value through its own extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial expertise. BIVF has EUR 300 million under management and currently supervises a portfolio of more than 30 companies. For more information, please visit

Boehringer Ingelheim
Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.

As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of 19 billion euros. Our significant investment of almost 3.5 billion euros in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life. 

We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.

Article and photo source:

Photo: From the left to the right: Dr. Jiali Luo, General manager of Biopharma Boehringer Ingelheim China, Mr. David Gocken, Head of Animal Health Boehringer Ingelheim T.C.M,  Dr. Weiyi Zhang, Head of External Innovation Hub Boehringer Ingelheim T.C.M,  Mr. Felix Gutsche, President & CEO Boehringer Ingelheim T.C.M, Dr. Pavol Dobrocky, Head of HP business Boehringer Ingelheim T.C.M, Dr. Wei Zhang, Head of Medicine Boehringer Ingelheim T.C.M., Mr. Jürgen Beck, Head of Healthcare Solutions Boehringer Ingelheim China