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AstraZeneca announces large-scale initiatives in China to advance global medicine R&D

AstraZeneca has announced three large-scale initiatives to build on the company’s commitment to China and advance global research and development 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 Healthcare Industrial Fund with China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC).

“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,” says Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca.


The Global R&D Centre

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 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.

The AI Innovation Centre

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

The Healthcare Industrial Fund

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

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.

“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,” says Leon Wang, Executive Vice President, International region and China President, AstraZeneca.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed 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.

Photo of AstraZeneca China HQ, at Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park