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Through a strategic alliance with WuXi AppTec and a $50 million facility investment, AstraZeneca plans biologics and small-molecule expansion in China.
AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, announced initiatives to accelerate the delivery of innovative biologics and targeted medicines to patients in China, the company’s second largest market globally on Dec. 16, 2015.
The initiatives include en alliance with WuXi AppTec, AstraZeneca’s exclusive partner for R&D manufacturing for innovative biologics in China, to produce biologics locally in China. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca has the option to acquire WuXi AppTec’s biologics manufacturing capacity in Wuxi City in the next few years through an investment of $100 million.
The goal of the alliance is to bring research and technical capability for biologics to China to address unmet patient needs in AstraZeneca’s main therapy areas of respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and oncology, the company reports in a statement. The alliance builds on the existing joint venture between MedImmune and WuXi AppTec to develop and commercialize MEDI5117, a novel biologic for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, in China.
The company also announced an investment of $50 million to build an additional development and launch facility alongside its existing manufacturing site in Wuxi City to support the development and manufacture of innovative small molecules discovered in China and global R&D sites.
The company also plans to create a new global hub for Pharmaceutical Development-in addition to those in the United Kingdom and Sweden-with up to 50 scientists based in Shanghai and Wuxi City, to support China and global needs. AstraZeneca also reports it is establishing an integrated China medicines development organization, bringing together early and late-stage medicines development across small molecules and biologics.