Worker inspecting products on production line in pharmaceutical factory. Photo: AFP

Three new cancer drugs are in a race to get approval in China and overseas, to perhaps become the first prescription medication designed and developed entirely in China. As the Economist writes this week, Chi-Med’s colorectal cancer drug Fruquintinib has achieved late-stage trial results, while Chipscreen Biosciences cancer drug Epidaza has already been approved in China. An oncology firm which raised USS$158 million in an IPO last year, BioGene, has four clinical-stage drug candidates currently in the pipeline. With China’s focus on improving drug quality and innovation through new regulations, the milestone of Chinese drugs making it to Western markets should not surprise anyone.