AstraZeneca Launches China R&D Initiatives
Major drugmaker AstraZeneca has announced plans to launch three initiatives in China to advance global R&D efforts. The plans include establishing global R&D and artificial intelligence (AI) innovation centers as well as creating a “first-of-its-kind” healthcare industrial fund.
CEO Pascal Soriot said China is rapidly emerging as a global scientific powerhouse. He commented: “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.”
Based in the Jing’an district of central Shanghai, the R&D center will develop potential new innovative medicines and more than double AstraZeneca’s headcount in the city to around 1,000 people. The facility’s primary focus will be on diseases that are prevalent in China, which the drugmaker said carries around a quarter of the world’s disease burden, as well as other parts of Asia.
Also located in Shanghai, the AI center will capitalize on the latest digital technology in R&D, manufacturing, operations and commercialization to accelerate the delivery of medicines, to patients in China and around the world. A dedicated group within the center will focus on collaborating with technology companies and local start-ups to develop innovative solutions.
AstraZeneca is setting up the healthcare fund in partnership with leading Chinese investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC). The fund’s target size is $1 billion and, as a first step, it will support domestic companies and partners including those based in the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus, as well as international companies looking to establish a presence in China.
In September 2019, AstraZeneca announced the opening of the Wuxi campus, built in collaboration with the Wuxi municipal government and Wuxi Hi-tech District. Ten companies signed up to the campus on opening and predictions are for another 50 companies to join over the next three years.