Visitors gather at the demonstration zone for pharmaceutical and healthcare players during the fourth CIIE in Shanghai on Tuesday. (ZHU XINGXIN / CHINA DAILY)

Several multinational pharmaceutical companies have for the first time joined hands with stakeholders from the government and various industries to display multi-level health innovation ecosystems built in recent years at the fourth China International Import Expo.

These ecosystems, which involve new drug innovation, long-term chronic disease management, e-hospital building, and drug accessibility enhancement, will contribute to the realization of the Healthy China 2030 initiative, said the companies.

Top executives of these companies also pointed out that the overall treatment and diagnosis capability of these ecosystems will become just as important as cutting-edge drugs, and that enterprises, doctors, digital partners, and governments will need to look at affordability issues in order to benefit patients.

At this year's CIIE, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca showcased its cross-industrial collaborations in its sprawling 1,000-square-meter booth.

"Visitors will not only see Astra-Zeneca's logo but also many others at our booth," said Leon Wang, executive vice-president of Astra-Zeneca.

"Identifying itself as a patriotic multinational company throughout its robust development in China, AstraZeneca intends to live up to our social responsibility," he said.

According to Wang, AstraZeneca has conducted in-depth collaborations with over 400 hospitals in more than 120 cities. He added that the company's upgraded Global R&D China Center, which was unveiled in Shanghai in October, will step up cooperation with top hospitals in the basic research of diseases, early target verification, translational medicine, drug development, and early cancer diagnosis.

AstraZeneca has also signed collaboration and talent exchange agreements at CIIE with domestic educational institutions. Through the cooperation with Nanjing University's School of Life Sciences, AstraZeneca will introduce a string of interactive measures to foster youth talents.

Meanwhile, the collaboration with two local companies-medical technology enterprise Chic Health and corporate consulting provider Huijiu-will help talents from both sides acquire diversified techniques in a rapid manner, the company said.

Other multinational companies working with local partners to build an open, cooperative, and innovative local health ecosystem include Roche Pharma and Roche Dia, which joined hands for the fourth straight year at CIIE.

Roche China has during this year's CIIE formed a strategic alliance with local medical technology enterprises such as MGI ImaBot and Aisono and healthcare provider Shan Zhen.

The aim of the alliance is to combine their strengths, such as remote smart imaging and big-data technology to aid early detection and end-to-end patient management-to build an integrated system that will promote an ecosystem for early cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

"As a leader in oncology, we will join hands with ecosystem partners, explore innovative models, and build a closed loop for screening, diagnosis, and treatment, with the ultimate goal of supporting the Healthy China 2030," said Vivian Bian, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals China.

A report compiled by the Research & Development-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee (RDPAC) and the China Pharmaceutical Industry Research and Development Association was highlighted at the CIIE.

According to the report, China's pharma innovation ecosystem has taken shape in the past five years, and one of the top priorities in the ecosystem now is accelerating the speed at which innovative therapies get to benefit patients.

"We are looking forward to establishing a multi-layer medical security system shouldered by the government and the market economy, and promoting China's entry into more early clinical programs, as well as the mutual recognition of international clinical trial data to enable patients to use innovative medicines as early as possible," said Kang Wei, managing director of RDPAC.