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Sanofi invests €66m in Chinese R&D hub

Published on 03/07/18 at 09:18am

French multinational Sanofi is investing €66 million in a tech-focused operation in China in an effort to increase efficiency and speed up the analysis of clinical trials. The French pharmaceutical company’s new hub will be based in the rapidly developing city of Chengdu in the centrally located Sichuan province.

Sanofi, which currently employs 9500 people in offices across China, plan to recruit a further 300 local pharmaceutical research and development professionals by 2020, in order to staff the new hub in Chengdu. Through taking advantage of local talent, the hub is intended to boost Sanofi’s clinical research and development efforts by supporting the management of global multi-centre clinical trials data and filings.

As Dr Zhang Ji,, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Sanofi R&D Operations established: “Through this new hub, we will take full advantage of our global experience and R&D capabilities together with local scientific research strengths to further improve innovation. Our goal is to link China's innovative achievements with the global ecosystem and develop innovative drugs in China that could benefit patients around the world.”

Sanofi’s Chengdu hub will target a range of diseases across a variety of therapeutic areas. Specifically, the areas of focus include diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, vaccines, oncology, immunology and inflammation, rare diseases, multiple sclerosis and neurology. The hub is also intended to leverage cutting-edge biological technology relating to polypeptides, gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies and multi-specific antibodies.

The new hub further reinforces Sanofi’s presence in China, confirming the country’s place as the third pillar of the firm’s operations along with France and the USA. In further developing their Chinese operations, the French multinational stands in stark contrast to companies such as GSK and Novartis who have withdrawn their operations from China in recent years.

While GSK announced the closing of its neuroscience R&D site in Shanghai last year, Novartis announced the closing of two of its Chinese units as part of a streamlining of operations in the summer of the same year. Nevertheless, Sanofi, whose Chinese operations were first established in 1982, has buckled down on the East Asian superpower.

Louis Goss

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