Sanofi unveils new research institute in Suzhou

Ding Yining
The company is the latest multinational pharmaceutical firm hoping to ride the next wave of biomedical research in China.
Ding Yining
Sanofi unveils new research institute in Suzhou
Ding Yining / SHINE

The 4,000-square-meter Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research was unveiled on Tuesday in Suzhou.


Sanofi said it foresees annual investment of around 20 million euros over the next five years and a headcount of at least 50 researchers by the end of next year at its biomedical research facility in Suzhou which was unveiled Tuesday. 

The company is the latest multinational pharmaceutical company hoping to ride the next wave of biomedical research, as China encourages first-in-class innovative treatments instead of relying on generics. 

Located at the Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine in the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research will be the first institute outside France, Germany and the United States. 

Private research agency ASKCI Consulting estimates the market size for China's biomedical industry will increase to 5.79 trillion yuan (US$880 billion) in 2026 from about 3.86 trillion yuan in 2021. 

Biopharma is a crucial part of the Healthy China 2030 action plan to improve healthcare and disease treatments with a string of incentives to support the development of science parks and city hubs for innovation and research and development (R&D). 

Country lead of Sanofi China Pius Hornstein said the institute will look to increase the company's early-stage research capabilities in the country and deeply connect with the Chinese ecosystem, the world's second largest market for the drug firm after the US.

"We feel it's the right moment to leverage local R&D resources that have benefitted from the biomedical research investment boom in recent years, and tap into the talent pool in the Yangtze River Delta region," Hornstein said. 

The new research facility will focus on early-stage research in oncology, immunology and inflammation.  

The central government is also urging the Yangtze River Delta region to combine resources and research capabilities in crucial sectors like integrated circuits, biopharma and artificial intelligence to bring about breakthrough results. 

The number of new Chinese biopharma companies has risen steadily over the past decade, and Hornstein said he's confident Sanofi China will attract great talent, adding that competition and collaboration with domestic players would increase innovation. 

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