AstraZeneca announces three large-scale initiatives in China to advance global medicine research and development

AstraZenecaAstraZeneca announced three large-scale initiatives to build on the Company's long-standing commitment to China and advance global research and development (R&D) for innovative new medicines. The announcements made at the 2nd annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai include the creation of a new Global R&D Centre and an artificial intelligence (AI) Innovation Centre, both in Shanghai, and the creation of a first-of-its-kind Healthcare Industrial Fund with China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC).

Based in the Jing'an district of central Shanghai, the Global R&D Centre will carry out R&D for potential new innovative medicines and more than double AstraZeneca's Shanghai R&D headcount to around 1,000. Its primary focus will be on diseases that are prevalent in China, home to around a quarter of world’s disease burden, as well as other parts of Asia. The centre will also aim to advance global medicine development and life-cycle management programmes, and create new partnerships within China’s emerging R&D ecosystem.

A new AI Innovation Centre, also in Shanghai, will be established to capitalise on the latest digital technology in R&D, manufacturing, operations and commercialisation in order to accelerate the delivery of medicines to patients in China and globally. A dedicated group within the centre will focus on collaboration with technology companies and local start-ups to develop innovative solutions for patients.

The agreement with CICC, one of China’s leading investment banks, to jointly create the Healthcare Industrial Fund combines the bank’s strong investment and capital management experience with AstraZeneca's expertise in healthcare and will seek to drive innovation in China’s healthcare system.

The fund’s target size is $1bn and, as a first step, it will support domestic companies and partners including those based in the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus (I·Campus), as well as international companies looking to establish a presence in China. The fund will be the first and largest-scale healthcare industrial fund established by AstraZeneca.

Speaking about today’s announcements, Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: "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. 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."

Speaking about the CICC investment fund, Leon Wang, Executive Vice President, International region and China President, said: "The new fund will inject vitality into the small and medium-sized healthcare innovation enterprises with promising development prospects, so that they can achieve substantial growth in China. With this new commitment, AstraZeneca will further increase its contribution to the development of healthcare in China, and to exporting domestic innovations that benefit patients worldwide."

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today with the Shanghai Jing'an District People's Government at the CIIE as a first step in the creation of the R&D and AI centres. A separate agreement was signed with CICC Capital at the CIIE.

Further announcements at CIIE

  • A new licensing agreement signed with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, India’s leading pharmaceutical company, to bring certain novel products into China and add to AstraZeneca’s China oncology portfolio.
  • Licensing agreements signed with Ningbo Tai King Medical Technology for AZD3229, a KIT inhibitor for gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST); with Antengene for AZD0364, an Extracellular Receptor Kinase (ERK) 1/2 inhibitor for RAS/MAPK pathway mutant cancers; and with Abbisko for AZD4547, a Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFR) inhibitor for FGFR-driven cancers.
  • I·Campus will sign a Letter of Intent with Australian Trade and Investment Commission during CIIE to promote exchanges and cooperation in life sciences. I·Campus will also sign MoU with two new resident companies, Novoheart of Hong Kong (China) and Ninehealth (the UK).
  • The establishment of five regional headquarters in China, with Beijing as North region HQ, Chengdu as West region HQ, Guangzhou as South region HQ and Hangzhou is East region HQ, in addition to Wuxi, which covers the Central region. AstraZeneca will also establish local commercial innovation centers in each HQ.

About China International Import Expo (CIIE)

President Xi Jinping in May 2017 announced that China would hold the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in 2018, a government initiative to support trade liberalisation and economic globalisation, and to open the Chinese market to the world. The second CIIE takes place in Shanghai from 5-10 November 2019.

About AstraZeneca China

AstraZeneca has been present in China since 1993. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has approximately 15,000 employees throughout China. It has manufacturing sites in Wuxi and Taizhou, Jiangsu, the China Distribution Center in Wuxi.

In 2017, the AstraZeneca China Commercial Innovation Center was established in Wuxi, with the aim to explore innovative internet-connected diagnosis and treatment solutions. In the same year, AstraZeneca cooperated with SDIC Fund in establishing Dizal Pharmaceutical to accelerate local development of innovative medicines. Dizal Pharmaceutical holds rights to develop and commercialise three potential medicines currently in preclinical development.

In 2019, AstraZeneca announced it would co-build the Wuxi I·Campus with Wuxi Municipal Government and Wuxi Hi-tech District. AstraZeneca does not anticipate any meaningful impact to global capital expenditure and costs as a result of today’s announcements.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

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