We must continually break new ground

Haifeng Jiang is responsible for the business development, corporate affairs and strategy of the business area Animal Health in China. He works to ensure that Boehringer Ingelheim can provide access to innovative medicines for as many animals in China as possible. In this interview, he explains why the company focuses on local value creation.

Mr. Jiang, Boehringer Ingelheim entered the Chinese market 25 years ago. A lot has happened since then – among other things, the Chinese pet population has grown strongly.

That’s right, the interest in pets has substantially increased in China in recent years along with the economic growth and the urbanization. Many Chinese people are now dog and cat owners.

What is the situation with livestock?

China is the largest market for pork worldwide. Pig farming is accordingly very important. However, various diseases are causing difficulties for farmers, such as African Swine Fever (ASF), and PRRS. ASF is a deadly disease for pigs and currently without vaccine or treatment available, an effective biosecurity protocol is the only way to reduce disease transmission. We have been helping Chinese farmers fight ASF in terms of providing comprehensive biosecurity knowledge as well as developing a digital tool to assess biosecurity risks on farms.

And what is PRRS?

PRRS stands for “Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome”; it makes it hard for pigs to breathe and causes stillbirths. If one animal is sick, the entire stall often gets it. This is causing the supply of meat to shrink. The disease poses a serious danger to the pig farming industry and is a particular threat to the numerous small-scale farmers.

How can Boehringer Ingelheim help with this?

Boehringer Ingelheim has developed the product INGELVAC® prrs mlv, an effective vaccine for the disease with which we have been able to make a name for ourselves in the world, including in China. Originally imported from a Boehringer Ingelheim site in the US, the PRRS vaccine has now been successfully transferred to our newly-opened manufacturing plant in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province.

Why was this step taken?

In order to get closer to our customers and the market. We localized the value chain of Research & Development as well as the manufacturing of vaccines in China. We can thus signifcantly shorten the interval between the plant and animal farms.

What is your role in the introduction of vaccines?

For my team and me, the work begins long before the actual introduction. Our major role is it to strive for a favorable business environment in China. Boehringer Ingelheim is the first multinational animal health company that brings the whole value chain from R&D, manufacturing, supply and health management to China. As you can imagine, we must continually do pioneering work and break new ground.

Breaking new ground is a good aspiration – what is your future vision?

The company is growing and investing in China. In the coming years, the Taizhou plant also expects to increase its production capacity, with which we aspire to move another step closer to achieving our ultimate goal of healthy animals in China.