My CIIE Story • Great Opportunity: Boehringer Ingelheim leverages CIIE opportunities to ramp up high-quality development in China – China Daily

In September 2019, after I took on the role of President of Boehringer Ingelheim Greater China, one of my key priorities was to prepare the company for its participation in the China International Import Expo.
For Boehringer Ingelheim, the CIIE is a very special stage. We cannot think of any other open collaboration platform worldwide that allows us to present the achievements and opportunities in our three businesses – Human Pharma, Animal Health and Biopharmaceutical Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization – in an all-round manner.
At that time, I was particularly curious. What did such a special exhibition platform mean to Boehringer Ingelheim? What benefits would it bring to our development in China?
That year, Boehringer Ingelheim participated in the CIIE for the first time and it turned out to be a great success. Since then, we have been coming back to the CIIE every year. We’ve also developed deeper understanding and insights of the platform over the past editions of the expo.
A global stage to co-create opportunities, forge collaboration, and foster opening-up
At each CIIE, we present our cutting-edge products and solutions, strengthen partnerships and explore cooperation opportunities.
When we participated in the CIIE for the first time, we held the global debut of our innovations such as the Total Stroke Solution and the animal health management solution, both of which attracted much attention. At the third CIIE, we presented innovative projects tailored for the Chinese market, including the live vaccine against swine fever developed through Chinese-German collaboration, and our digital lab BI X in China.
At the fourth CIIE held last year, we showcased our achievements in improving human and animal health under the One Health concept, including Jardiance® for the new heart failure indication, Spesolimab for the treatment of generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), the global debut of TwistPak, an innovative vial for mixing of swine vaccines, and ARTI-CELL® FORTE, the world’s first animal health stem cell product.
In my opinion, the CIIE is a world-class stage to demonstrate innovations, enhance opening-up, and foster win-win collaboration. It has huge business opportunities and wide-ranging influence. As a window for multinational companies to understand China, the CIIE has given us a real sense on China’s evolving transformation. The CIIE is among the many positive factors that beef up our determination and confidence to deliver on our commitment to “in China, for China.”
Spillover effect accelerates delivery of innovative collaboration
Although the CIIE lasts only six days every year, it creates a 365-day or even longer “spillover effect”, which has accelerated the successful implementation of many of our company’s innovative ideas and projects. One of the best examples is our Chengdu Consanas Rehabilitation Hospital, an investment which we announced during the CIIE last year.
At the second CIIE that we first participated in, we presented the Total Stroke Solution. At the third CIIE, we launched the first stroke academy in West China. Then, at the fourth CIIE, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Wenjiang district of Chengdu announced our plan to build a German gold-standard stroke rehabilitation center in Chengdu Medical City. The center, which spans about 13,500 square meters and can accommodate 150 beds, is expected to be inaugurated within this year.
Last year, this project was selected as an example of the benefits of the spillover effect of the CIIE, and was one of the highlights at the Exhibition Hall that was dedicated to celebrating the 20th anniversary of China’s entry into the WTO.
The Chengdu Consanas Rehabilitation Hospital is only the first step. We hope to leverage it to explore more innovative business opportunities. For example, we plan to launch the Consanas Rehabilitation Internet Hospital to provide instant online consultation for patients with mild and moderate strokes. The Digital Stroke Rehabilitation developed by BI X will also digitally support and guide stroke patients in home-based rehabilitation via the Internet hospital platform.
This is the blueprint in my mind: in Chengdu, Boehringer Ingelheim builds a comprehensive stroke management ecosystem covering research cooperation, talent training, innovative payment, patient referral, and stroke center capability building so that we can explore new ways to help cities enhance their defenses against stroke, and improve the health of Chinese patients.
Advance green development and lead digital transformation
This year, both the company and I are full of expectations for the fifth CIIE. Apart from presenting new products and solutions, Boehringer Ingelheim will also showcase our commitment and contribution to digitalization and sustainable development.
Sustainable development has been embedded in our genes since the founding of Boehringer Ingelheim in 1885. In 2021, we launched the global strategy “Sustainable Development for Generations” and integrated all sustainability-related initiatives within the framework. Most recently, Boehringer Ingelheim Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd (BISPL) became the first certified carbon neutral pharmaceutical plant in China.
BISPL is one of our most important production and supply centers in Asia Pacific. It reached peak carbon emissions in 2014. Following that, we adopted a holistic site-wide decarbonization plan and achieved carbon neutrality eight years ahead of schedule.
We have a set of data to illustrate the results. Thanks to our decarbonization efforts in the past few years, BISPL reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 12,103 tons between 2014 and 2021 (equivalent to CO2 emissions absorbed by about 45,000 trees in one year), and increased energy efficiency by 77.01 percent, thus contributing to green and low-carbon transition.
Digitalization has become our new growth driver in China. Boehringer Ingelheim has also identified digital transformation as a global strategy and has been actively integrating digital capabilities into clinical development, clinical trials, and commercialization to create innovative digital solutions.
Boehringer Ingelheim Biopharmaceuticals (China) Ltd is making full use of strategic opportunities brought by China’s digitalization trends to move towards a “smart plant”. At this year’s CIIE, we will showcase our outstanding achievements in building a “smart plant” and “future plant” in the biopharmaceutical field.
For Boehringer Ingelheim, many of the seeds sown at previous CIIEs have already grown into fruit. We hope to leverage the CIIE to continue to expand cooperation with various partners and make greater contributions to improving the health of humans and animals.
An old Chinese saying goes, “If we want to walk far, we walk together.” I look forward to meeting more friends at this year’s CIIE.
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