At the beginning of 2020, when COVID-19 broke out unexpectedly and viciously, top research institutions and enterprises in China responded quickly, and the virus antibody R&D team of Sino Biological Inc. was one of them. After receiving the task, the R&D team from Sino Biological started to invest themselves into this task without any delay and completed the expressions of important target antigen protein S-RBD of SARS-CoV-2 successfully within only 11 days, and developed industrial-grade core antigen protein reagents; also, it supported Wondfo to complete the marketing of the first batch of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic products on February 22.
Later, Sino Biological quickly accomplished the breakthrough in the industrial-grade production technology and achieved the production of 100g-level reagents, and developed more than 200 kinds of reagents for scientific research and pharmaceutical R&D, etc. In May of this year, in the first medical science and technology innovation competition held by the Development Center for Medical Science& Technology under the National Health Commission, the project titled Development of Antigen and Antibody for Rapid Immunoassay of SARS-CoV-2 declared by Sino Biological was awarded the Silver Award in the Fighting Against COVID-19 Epidemic.
In this interview, Dr. Jie Zhang, general manager of Sino Biological Inc., shared his insights and experiences in biotechnology innovations and collaborative development of the industry with his research team.
Would you please share with us the achievements your team has made over the past year in terms of scientific research?
This year has been an extraordinary year for Sino Biological. After the outbreak of the epidemic, we started the research and development of virus antibodies in a very short time. We have summarized three major advantages in our R&D works: first, we have conducted fast research and development. We developed key protein reagents for SARS-CoV-2 within only 11 days, and launched them into the markets as the first company across the world; second, we have successively developed more than 200 protein reagents for anti-epidemic fight globally. These reagents cover a variety of targets and a variety of variant viral strains; third, industrialized production and have achieved the output of 500 liters for a single batch, to meet the large-scale demands for the COVID-19 reagents from scientific research institutions and industrial users worldwide. Our antigen reagents have high purity and high activity, and our antibody products have high affinity, high specificity, and high sensitivity, therefore, our products have been widely accepted and recognized in the markets. Our scientific research reagents for COVID-19 have been used for virus research, drug and vaccine development in more than 1,700 institutions and organizations in 53 countries or regions worldwide. Presently, our research team has published more than 280 high-level articles on COVID-19 in international journals such as Cell, Nature, and Science, etc., providing support for the development of diagnostic reagents and vaccines by related enterprises. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that we have supported the global scientific and technological work against COVID-19 on an all-round level.
Sino Biological has been constantly developing a variety of antigen and antibody detection reagent products, and actively participating in national and international cooperation. Would you please share with us your experiences in cooperation with domestic and foreign research teams and what's your experiences and philosophy on cooperation?
After the outbreak of this epidemic, our research team has worked all round the clock and worked with both domestic and foreign research teams proactively, and we have achieved many research results from these cooperations. As an upstream supplier, we have extended cooperation with many diagnostic reagent companies on product development. We have developed a series of high-quality protein, antibody biological reagents and supported diagnostic reagent enterprises with our products to develop novel diagnostic reagent products for testing in immunology and serology, including viral antigen reagents and antibody reagents; and we have supported more than 200 diagnostic reagent enterprises to develop different diagnostic reagent products to meet the demands in clinical uses. Besides, we also worked with the U.S. research teams to develop a unique method for improving the sensitivity of the reagents. Compared with the conventional methods, the sensitivity of the reagents has been successfully increased by hundreds or thousands of times. Due to the high sensitivity, we can not only detect throat swabs but also perform assays and tracing on the virus level in the patients' blood. Besides the products, we also offered services to support the studies on the viruses of many research institutes, universities, and enterprises. For example, under the unified coordination of the Beijing Municipal Science &Technology Commission, we supported the R&D of antibody drugs of Peking University using internationally advanced single-cell sequencing techniques. We transformed the obtained antibody sequence into antibody products in the shortest time possible. Through cooperation, antibody drugs have been developed and applied to clinical studies successfully. To conclude, I believe that, no individual organizations or institutions can cover everything in the biology field, so we shall strengthen robust cooperation in the major R&D projects with an open mind, to constantly accelerate our scientifific research.
Presently the COVID-19 epidemic is still intense globally and respiratory diseases have aroused great attention from the governments and scientists of various countries. So what has been done in the product development by Sino Biological and what's the current progress?
After the outbreak of the epidemic, we have been aware of the importance to strengthen the research and development to fight against COVID-19. As a matter of fact, respiratory diseases will pose a major threat to human health in winter and spring every year, for example, the well-known influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza viruses, adenoviruses, etc., these viruses have a fast spread rate and can cause certain fatality. We have researched reagents specific for respiratory diseases very early. In the previous H1N1 influenza A and H5N1 avian influenza epidemics, we were the first to develop related biological reagents. At present, our reagents cover 10 major types of respiratory disease viruses, including more than 1,000 kinds of products, strongly supporting the global research on respiratory diseases.
In 2020, the research and development of SARS-CoV-2-related drugs, vaccines and testing reagents shows a global competition. Various countries present their scientific research strength, highlighting the important value and significance of biomedical industries. So, what's the future development direction of Chinese bio-reagent enterprises represented by Sino Biological, and how to facilitate the innovation and development of the entire biomedical industry?
Sino Biological starts the research and development of biological reagents early in China. Through years of research, especially this epidemic, we are fully aware that an enterprise must have its own core technologies and the capability to form a closed-loop R&D platform for its long-term development. At the beginning of this epidemic, we have developed our products and produced our own scientific research results, and the underlying reason is that we have our own core technologies, and the key reagents are developed by our team or co-developed with domestic manufacturers. Most importantly, we shall have key technologies in our very own hands, instead of having to get them from others. Furthermore, in the long run, we shall improve our competitiveness in quality and performance, as this is the key to long-term survival and the development of enterprises. Due to our adherence to Quality Coming the Foremost, our products can be marketed both at home and abroad, serving so many users and supporting them to publish articles, and supporting the marketing of their reagents and vaccines. Last, I would like to emphasize our awareness of the provision of services, and we should deliver our promises to customers. Currently, we have established our teams across the world, including in the United States, Europe, and Japan. These teams, as well as our domestic sales teams, shall all put the service awareness in their mind, respond to the customers' needs in time, and provide them with professional and one-stop services. Only by doing so can it bring more opportunities for the development of the entire biomedical industry
About Sino Biological Inc.
Sino Biological, Inc. is a global leader in manufacturing affordable, high-quality reagents, including recombinant proteins, antibodies and cDNA clones—all in-house. We provide a one-stop shop for researchers and pharmaceutical companies around the world, helping our customers obtain the best reagents in the needed amounts to accelerate the pace of discovery and improve human health.
Sino Biological's core business
Sino Biological is committed to providing high-quality recombinant protein and antibody reagents and to being a one-stop technical services shop for life science researchers around the world. All of our products are independently developed and produced. In addition, we offer pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms pre-clinical production technology services for hundreds of monoclonal antibody drug candidates. Our product quality control indicators meet rigorous requirements for clinical use samples. It takes only a few weeks for us to produce 1 to 30 grams of purified monoclonal antibody from gene sequencing.
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