Mice models are indispensable tools in research activities with their capability to elucidate human disease processes because of the striking similarities between the anatomy, physiology, and genetic structures of humans and mice. These advantages promote scientific discovery and facilitate better understanding of gene functions, disease mechanisms, and the effectiveness and toxicities of various drugs. These benefits of mice models coupled with the growth in biomedical research market in Asia particularly in China has led to creation of potential market for mice models and service in the country.
Growing Chinese preclinical market, increasing investments from government and private sectors in the life sciences sector, and mandatory animal testing for all pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics are the major drivers for high demand of mice models market in China. All types of mice models ranging from simple and low cost inbred models to complex and expensive knockout mice models have found a place in the Chinese market. The knockout mice model market is the fastest-growing market in China, owing to a shift from basic research to advanced research, which demands highly specific genetically-manipulated mice models, primarily knockout models. In addition, the problem of inadequate intellectual property (IP) protection and IP breaches is being resolved in China, which can be seen as a major draw for companies to invest in research and development in these countries.
Realizing the potential of the market prominent mice models and service players have already ventured into Chinese market. Global leaders such as the Jackson Laboratory and Charles River Laboratories, Inc. (CRL) are investing heavily in building up or extending their facilities and improving their distribution networks in these countries. One such example can be acquisition of 75% ownership of Vital River Laboratories by Charles River Laboratories, Inc. in January 2013. Vital River Laboratories is a leading commercial provider of research models and related services in China and was a licensee of CRL since the last ten years. Through this acquisition, CRL looks to tap this opportunity and be a leading player in one of the largest pharmaceutical market in the world.
China which is referred to as Asian giant, has been witnessing increasing government support for biomedical research in the country. In 2012, the Chinese government planned to increase its basic research investment by 26% and add more than $300 billion into the biotechnology sector over the next five years. This investment amount was considered to be twice the amount expected to be invested by U.S. in 2012. (Source: National Institutes of Health). China is expected to surpass the U.S. R&D spending on biomedical research in coming 10 years. Such researches are likely to create high demand for the mice models, services as well as care products thus portraying a lucrative market for the players in this market.