HKIC | The Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited


International Bio-Computing Innovation Summit

Speech of Ms Clara Chan, Chief Executive Officer/HKIC

(24 June 2024)

Financial Secretary, Robin, Wei, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you all today at the International Bio-Computing Innovation Summit organised by BioMap. This event represents another ongoing effort by the Hong Kong Investment Corporation Limited (“HKIC”) to build a vibrant and differentiating ecosystem of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and AI-enabled industries in Hong Kong.

Today, we are signing a strategic partnership agreement with BioMap which is the second strategic partner announced by the HKIC. From SmartMore earlier this month to BioMap today, you could see that we are very focused on AI application, due to the fact that AI has become the backbone technology for future creation, innovation and empowerment. As we continue to press ahead with our work, you will see in concrete terms that each of our projects and strategic partnerships is enshrining the HKIC’s mandate.


The HKIC carries with us a dual mandate, which is to seek reasonable financial return, and more importantly, to enhance the long-term competitiveness and economic vitality of Hong Kong by supporting the development of innovation and technology (“I&T”), as well as strategic industries. As announced before, we are focusing on 3 themes initially, namely, “Hard & Core Technology”, “Biotech”, and “New Energy Technology”. AI is a key part of our “Hard & Core Technology” theme, of which AI Large Language Model (“LLM”) is a focus.

We are driven to deliver our mandate with quality and speed. For each action we take and each investment we make, we place great emphasis on the big picture, in addition to the critical details. Our aim is to maximise the strategic benefits that could be brought to the Hong Kong economy and society. When we pick and choose projects and teams, we will accord priority to those which not only have the potential to succeed in their own stories, but also could greatly facilitate the development of different parts of the ecosystem in the industry chain, and even support the incremental demand in the adjacent or related industries. Simply put, we are curating the “Platform Effect”. This explains why AI LLM is playing a crucial part in our game plan for “Hard & Core Technology”.


I am sure recently, many of us have heard of the developments about AI LLM and are feeling their importance. Some of us have even been applying it at work, leveraging its capability in generating documents, visuals and music, to name but a few.

By way of deep learning, models could understand how human characters, words, and sentences function together. Among other things, Foundation Model could learn not only human language, but also other knowledge systems which exhibit similarity with human language, complexity and dynamism in structure and broad application. This includes the focus of today, protein, being a basic language for life science.

The Summit today is honoured by the presence of many experts in the life science arena, who will contribute their professional insights and explore together with us the future development of AI and life science. You may notice that there are two themes of the Summit, namely the relationship between AI and drug discovery, and the multi-dimensional synergy between AI and sustainable development. This shows that AI could empower and accelerate life science discovery, having benefited from the efficient and effective information collection, cross-referencing and comparison conducted by LLM. The coverage could also be very broad, ranging from drug discovery, to green technology and agricultural development. This is an important part of the HKIC’s work in incubating “New Productive Forces”, and is the context against which the HKIC and BioMap join hands together.


BioMap is a pioneer in life science AI Foundation LLM. From the sequence and structure of proteins, to the behaviour of multi-cellular systems, BioMap’s work could help analyse and predict the behaviour of life at multiple scales of complexity. The company was co-founded by Baidu CEO Robin Li and former Baidu Ventures CEO Wei Liu in September 2020, both of whom are here with us today. Despite being a relatively new comer to the game, BioMap has built more than 10 commercial collaborations with global life science companies, including 2 multinational corporations, to accelerate academic discoveries and application in biomedical technology.

“From Zero to One, From One to Infinity”

The HKIC shares a common vision and commitment with BioMap: disruptive innovation technology could improve human lives and well-being. Our journey with BioMap is going to be an example of what we called the HKIC’s model in investment and strategic partnership i.e. “from Zero to One, and from One to Infinity”.

“From Zero to One” is accomplished by teams of great scientists and entrepreneurs like BioMap. The HKIC will be the accelerator and facilitator with the ability to help these companies and teams achieve “From One to Infinity”. Let me illustrate how this works using the BioMap case.

“From Zero to One” - BioMap built XTrimo, the first life science AI Foundation Model to hit 100+ billion parameters. To date, this model remains the largest of its kind. It has achieved state-of-the-art performance in areas such as protein structure prediction, antibody sequence generation, and cell characterisation. BioMap’s technology allows scientists to model life more accurately from proteins to a system level, and extract novel insights and predictions, which could act as powerful searchlight for future medical breakthrough.

“From One to Infinity” - As I mentioned earlier, the HKIC places great emphasis in curating the “Platform Effect”, bringing in I&T enterprises and capital. We focus on companies which are developing cutting-edge technology, and have great teams as well as substantial growth potential. With this clear principle in mind, in the current case, we will not only invest in BioMap, but also lead the current financing round. Leading the round means that the HKIC is setting the parameters and terms of this round for other investors to follow. The HKIC’s leading role and participation has already successfully attracted overseas capital and institutions to express interest to invest or act as partners.

Our strategic partnership with BioMap means that BioMap is plugged into the HKIC’s ecosystem and could benefit from our cross-jurisdictional and cross-sectoral resources. For example, we will connect the company with other institutional capital sources around the world; we will also introduce them to our “circle of friends” globally, bringing in more application scenarios, and further unlocking potential in terms of application. Our strategy aims to take our investee companies and strategic partners to the next level by generating more collaborative and growth possibilities. This is what we meant by “From One to Infinity”.

The concept of “From One to Infinity” will incubate and support enterprises which were born in Hong Kong, raised in Hong Kong, or became successful because of Hong Kong. We hope to contribute to making the Hong Kong brand shine, and translate the unlimited opportunities into economic growth in Hong Kong in the long run.

We believe that our support to and partnership with BioMap will support the advancement in AI LLM and its application, particularly on the pharmaceutical and healthcare arena in Hong Kong. Looking ahead, this is expected to lower the cost and increase the speed of developing and testing new biotech products in the long run, by way of, for example, target discovery, de novo drug design and enzyme optimisation. The combination of less time, less cost, less risk, and higher likelihood of success, would lower the barrier of entry for innovation in Hong Kong, and create a positive feedback loop for more and better innovation. Equally importantly, this is also going to bring public good - with continued innovation, members of the public would be able to get better access to higher quality drugs and treatment at lower costs in the future.

Guided by the aforesaid direction, the HKIC and BioMap have come to a strategic partnership, which include the following initiatives:


To establish in Hong Kong its international innovation center (BioMap InnoHub), being the first of its kind around the world. The inaugural project will be “Bio-Computing Innovation Accelerator Program” (BioMap BioX) which aims to support over 50 cutting-edge life science early-stage research and development (R&D) projects, with priority given to projects recommended by universities and strategic partners in Hong Kong;


To organise in Hong Kong an annual international bio-computing conference to bring together international experts and talents on a regular basis, and consolidate Hong Kong’s role as an international innovation hub, particularly on the highly specialised field of bio-computing;


To accord priority to training up young talents in Hong Kong regarding bio-computing and related sectors, leveraging on the global footprint and insights of BioMap. For example, BioMap will provide internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in Hong Kong, allowing them to gain early exposure to bio-computing, real-world use case scenarios, and global business environment; BioMap will also host AI Generated Protein (AIGP) seminars and training sessions in collaboration with ecosystem partners, offering free access to young people in Hong Kong; and


To consider Hong Kong as a priority venue for their initial public offering (IPO).


We keenly look forward to joining hands with BioMap to bringing breakthrough in multiple areas. This will start with pharmaceutical and health, benefiting Hong Kong’s competitiveness and economic vitality in the long run, and at the same time contributing to shaping the mankind healthcare history with Hong Kong’s important involvement.

Noting the powerful technology that BioMap possesses, we have also encouraged them to collaborate with different stakeholders in Hong Kong, including universities, to explore expanding the coverage of BioMap’s platform technology from pharmaceutical and health, to other areas such as green technology, industrial innovation and others. More will come in the future.

Last but not least, I hope you would share our excitement for what this strategic partnership means for Hong Kong’s future. Thank you once again for having me today. Wishing the event a great success!