Pharmaceutical company Sanofi is set to invest up to $75mn to establish a new, global R&D operations hub in Chengdu, China, in order to further expand its presence in the country. It will join the company’s China R&D Centre and the Asia-Pacific R&D Centre in Shanghai.
Focused on digitalisation and big data analysis, the hub confirms China as the third pillar of Sanofi Global Clinical Sciences and Operations, joining facilities in France and the US.
Second only to the US, China is the world’s second largest market for drug development, spending up to $122.6bn in 2017. The hub will work alongside Sanofi’s other two hubs in the country, and coordinate with its France and US to support the clinical research and development of innovative drugs by focusing on the management of global multi-centre clinical trials data and files.
Set to become fully operational by 2020, the hub will provide a huge opportunity, not only to drive up employment figures, but also bolster its efforts within the pharmaceutical industry.
China is rapidly becoming a key player within the sector, where it has recently worked to transform its regulations to speed up drug development. Bringing together global data and analysis, the Hub will accelerate the availability of trial results, from Phase I to Phase IV. The Hub will take advantage of local talents to further strengthen Sanofi's digital capabilities.
"Through this new hub, we will take full advantage of our global experience and R&D capabilities together with local scientific research strengths to further improve innovation," said Zhang Ji, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Head of Sanofi R&D Operations.
"Our goal is to link China's innovative achievements with the global ecosystem and develop innovative drugs in China that could benefit patients around the world."
The Chengdu hub will target diseases that have the most impact: diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, vaccines, oncology, immunology and inflammation, rare diseases, multiple sclerosis and neurology.
Leveraging global cutting-edge biological technology for polypeptides, gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies and multi-specific antibodies, the hub will recruit 300 local pharmaceutical research and development professionals.