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4 New Research Centers More tom 200 research facilities and 50 different colleges and universities perform biotechnology and related research in China Dunng He past 5 years, the Chinese government has inaugural two new types of research centers to promote die development and commerci~i~ion of this field The first are He biotechnology bases at Jiangmen and Shanghai, which are meant to bnag research results to the p~ucdon stage. The second are the key labaratones, which provide research Paining for scientists from throughout China BIOTECHNOLOGY BASES The Jiangmen Single Cell Protem Biotechnology Base is located about 100 ldlometers from Guangzbou in Guangdong Province. At present, He base is loam on 200,000 square meters of land containing—all at venous stages of cornpledo~an office building, worker housing, a 5,000 square-meter laboratory building, a pilot plant, He single~ell protein plant, a tool factory, and a power plant. Plans are to have 400 employees when construction is completed in 1989 or 1990. The initial invesunent by SSTC was 60 million yuan, but the whole idea has fallen out of favor with Chinese adrn~nist;rators in He past 2 years, and the base itself will have to raise the additional 20 million yuan needy for completion. The original concept for the base was to ferment molasses (a by-product of the large sugar industry in Gua~agdongProv~nce) into single~ell feed protein Because of economic reform policies, however, nearby counties are no longer required to sell Heir molasses to He base, resulting in a shortage of raw supplies. Instead, the 15
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16 BIOTECHNOLOGY IN ClIINA base is ~v~ng on sales of low technology products (e.g., shrimp feed and meat tenderizer) and electricity from its power plant. The Shanghai Center of Biotechnology is located in an industrial sector of southwest Shanghai and will eventually contain 30,000 square meters of buildings, including a guest house, laboratory building, pilot plant, library, and offices. The Shanghai center Is a national project a~n~ster~ by CAS and supported by 57 million yuan from the State Planning Comm~on. It is hoped Cat Me center will represent a new type of research institute In Chum, one which runs the gamut from laboratory research to pilot plant production. Project areas include genetic engineering and cell, enzyme, and fermentation technologies. At present, the center employs 200 people located at a biochemical Story and venous CAS research institutes. They are attempting to develop processing techniques for products such as human insulin, human grown factor, and epidermal growth factor, but a definite product has not been identified as of this writing. As shown in Table 1B, construction of He Jiangmen and Shanghai bases has consumed a sizable fraction of Finals biotechnology funds. Both bases are larg~probably larger than any comparable facility in the United Sates, even Hose built by major pharmaceutical and chemical companies. However, the consmucdon quality at both sites apes to be low. Moreover, bow have already or are in He process of purchasing large quantities of expensive fermentation equipment without knowing exactly what will be produced It is unlikely that either base will produce a major product within Be next 5 years, by which time much of this equnpment will be outdated and will have suffered from the neglect Cat accompanies idleness. Over lime, questionable construction standards and He lack of clear production planning will frame judgment of the utility of this investment strategy. KEY LABORATORIES The key laboratories represent the second new He of biotechnology center. To date, the Sate Planning Commission and SSTC have funded 11 such laboratones, each at an average cost of 5 million yuan. An additional one-half million yuan per year is provided by CAS to each of its labo~amnes for maintenance, whereas laboratones at universities and other institutes are expected ~ raise their own operating expenses. The laboratories are open to investigators from outside institutions and are intended to serve as national Gaining centers. In general, these key Tories have been established at the most advanced biotechnology research centers in China: Peking University, Fudan University, Beijing Instimm of Virology, Beijing Institute of Biophysics, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiologr, and Shanghai Institute of Cell Biology. The value of tile key laboratories as Mining centers is dubious since, in general, visiting scientists from distant provinces are unable to apply Heir new lmowledge after returning to them home insertions that lack adequate facilities.
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NEW RESEARCH CRIERS 17 On the other hand, the program has allowed some of China's best biology research centers to make great improvements in Heir facilities and equipment An example is Be L;`iborato~y of Genetic Engineering at Fudan University. Rather Can building a new facility, this key laboratory was integrated win existing laboratories of the university Institute of Genetics, and the money was ppenton new instn~nentation. This allows visitinginvestigamrs maximum contact well-mained university scientists and, at the same dme, permits access by scientists to highly sophisticated laboratory ins~nents.
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