Drugs giant AstraZeneca teams up with SDIC

The new US$130 million joint venture will focus on medicines in the fields of oncology, cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

Global biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said on Monday it had formed a joint venture company with a private equity unit of China's State Development and Investment Corporation to develop new drugs, focusing on oncology, cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

The 50-50 joint venture, Dizal (Jiangsu) Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, will have a registration capital of US$130 million. It holds exclusive rights to commercially develop three potential medicines already in pre-clinical development at AstraZeneca.

“We’re reinforcing with this joint venture our long-standing and strong commitment to China and we aim to accelerate the local discovery and development of innovative, affordable medicines for patients by joining forces with the SDIC Fund," AstraZeneca chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said.

“We believe the goals of AstraZeneca are firmly in line with the Chinese government's ambitions for a more prosperous and healthier China. Our goal is to be ‘In China for China’.”

AstraZeneca’s Innovation Center China chief, Zhang Xiaolin, has been appointed chief executive officer of the new venture.

“AstraZeneca’s Innovation Center China has an excellent track record of drug discovery and the synergy of combining AstraZeneca’s scientific talent and assets with SDIC Fund’s China expertise and funding will help further promote innovation in medical science,” said SDIC Fund chairman Gao Guohua.

AstraZeneca will also inject more capital and resources to support local R&D as well as bringing new projects to Dizal as the joint venture develops. The SDIC Fund  will contribute money and expertise to establish strategic partnerships in China.

The move reflects multinational drug companies’ increasing desire to expedite the commercialization and launching of new drugs in China as the country speeds up approvals for locally invented medicines.

China accounts for about 15 percent of AstraZeneca’s global revenue and the joint venture is also a showcase for probable future private-public partnership in other markets for AZ, the company says.

SHINE

chairman of SDIC Fund Gao Guohua (left) met with AstraZeneca chief executive officer Pascal Soriot.  

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