AstraZeneca reveals three-pronged “large-scale” R&D initiatives in China

pharmafile | November 7, 2019 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing AstraZeneca, China 

AstraZeneca has doubled down on its commitment to the Chinese region with the announcement of three “large-scale initiatives” in the country designed to drive its global R&D and pursuit of new, innovative therapies.

The company took the opportunity at the 2nd annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai to reveal the trio of investments, which include a new global R&D Centre, an an artificial intelligence (AI) innovation centre, and a Healthcare Industrial Fund with one of the nation’s leading investment banks, China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC) – a first of its kind, the company said.

The Global R&D Centre, based in the Jing’an district of central Shanghai, will more than double the company’s staff count in the region to more than 1,000 and will be focused on the development of innovative new medicines – particularly those prevalent in China and other parts of Asia, an area which accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s total disease burden. In addition, the centre will also aim to “create new partnerships within China’s emerging R&D ecosystem”.

Also based in Shanghai, the AI Innovation Centre will approach manufacturing, operations, commercialisation and R&D with the “latest digital technology”, with the prime goal of accelerating access and delivery of medical products to patients in China and around the world through partnership with tech firms and local start-ups.

The first and largest fund of its kind to be undertaken by AZ, the Healthcare Industrial Fund will be set up in partnership with CICC with a target size of $1 billion and the goal of driving innovation in China’s healthcare system. It aims to achieve this through collaboration with domestic partners and international partners, including those based in the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus.

“China is rapidly emerging as a global scientific powerhouse, which is why we have taken this exciting decision to follow the science, by expanding our R&D presence and by working with the investment community,” explained Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer at AZ. “We will make the most of our global resources and network to strengthen the connections between China and the rest of the world in the field of healthcare innovation and, ultimately, bring the benefits of that work to patients everywhere.”

Matt Fellows

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