Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administration Region

Distinguished guests, good morning. Hong Kong is honored to be chosen as a place to be hosting a pregistious group of scientists and experts for the second international summit on human genome editing. I am pleased to welcome you all, especially those from the mainland and overseas.

I would like to thank someone, for bringing the idea of taking the summit to Hong Kong. He said the summit would no doubt put Hong Kong on the map for human genome editing and strengthen the special administrative government to push ahead with biomedical research in Hong Kong.

In 1990, hundreds of researchers joined forces from all around the world for determining the sequence of the human genome, identifying all of the genes its contained. This landmark development was declared complete in 2003, setting into motion extraordinary advancements in human genome editing. It also led to great concerns, which led to the 2015 conference in Washington DC.

Technology has continued to accelerate since the 2015 summit, and so too have concerns about the science, ethics, application and governance of human genome editing. It must be addressed. This is a subject that I believe will be thoroughly deliberated during the course of this second summit. Renowned experts and policy makers, patient advocates and many others are here to connect with one another to discuss and debate the potential for human genome editing and to consider how to incorporate societal views into regulation and policy consideration.

Allow me to say that Hong Kong is an ideal place for holding this summit, given our goal to become an international innovation hub with strong support from central government. Biotechnology is among the key areas that we are focusing on. Our strategy to develop innovation compromises key elements such as raising R&D funding, and encouraging ambition of local and non-local talent, opening up a health data public research program, etc. These initiatives were outlined in my inaugural policy address delivered last October and last month, which you can find in the information in front of you called Innovation Hong Kong.

About $10 billion USD has been allocated for medical innovation. Specifically, in health technology, we will be eestablishing a research cluster where we will be inviting world class technology enterprises to join this cluster and welcome our local institutions on R&D projects. In this connection, we signed earlier this month a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to establish an institution in Hong Kong with a view to facilitate biomedicine and health and join the research consortium. In addition, ... where I visited in Paris in June this year.. has also indicated interest in joining the cluster in collaboration with Hong Kong University. I anticipate the first institutions to establish laboratories will get going within the next year.

Noting that genome medicine has huge potential in screening, diagnostics, and precision medicine, I announced in my policy address last year the establishment of a steering committee for strategies on developing genomic medicine in Hong Kong. The steering committee has put together a recommendation to perform a large-scale genome sequencing project in Hong Kong. The project aims to promote innovation and research on future medicine in Hong Kong through the establishment of genome data about the local population, testing infrastructure, and talent pool. I have accepted the recommendation and promised to find government funding.

Good research is only possible with data, funding aside. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority is preparing a big data analytics platform which will allow researchers to access valuable clinical data for further research. We expect the platform to be ready before the end of the year.

All of these developments make us a relevant host and timely. We welcome all of us in transforming Hong Kong into an international medical hub and bring significant benefits to manking.

Finally, my thanks to the organizers, the royal societies, the national academy of science and medicine, thank you for bringing this summit to Hong Kong.