AstraZeneca To Create New R&D and AI Centers, $1-Bn Joint Fund in China

By Emily Forster -

November 7, 2019

AstraZeneca has announced three large-scale initiatives in China to advance global research and development (R&D) for innovative new medicines. The company is creating a new global R&D center and an artificial intelligence (AI) innovation center, both in Shanghai, China, and is partnering with China International Capital Corporation (CICC), an investment bank in China, to create a healthcare industrial fund with a fund target size of $1 billion.

The global R&D center, based in the Jing’an District of central Shanghai, will carry out research and development for potential new medicines and more than double AstraZeneca’s Shanghai R&D work force to approximately 1,000 people. Its primary focus will be on diseases that are prevalent in China. The center will aim to advance global medicine development and life-cycle management programs and create new partnerships within China’s emerging R&D ecosystem.

The new AI innovation center, also in Shanghai, will be established to use digital technology in R&D, manufacturing, operations and commercialization in order to accelerate the delivery of medicines to patients in China and globally. A dedicated group within the center will focus on collaboration with technology companies and local start-ups.

The agreement with CICC to jointly create the healthcare industrial fund combines the bank’s investment and capital-management experience with AstraZeneca’s healthcare expertise and will seek to drive innovation in China’s healthcare system. The fund’s target size is $1 billion. It will support domestic companies and partners, including those based in the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus (WuXi I Campus), as well as international companies looking to establish a presence in China. AstraZeneca says the fund will be the first and largest-scale healthcare industrial fund established by the company.

A memorandum of understanding was signed as of November 6, 2019 with the Shanghai Jing’an District People’s Government for the creation of the R&D and AI centers. A separate agreement was signed with the CICC.

AstraZeneca made the announcement of these initiatives at the 2nd annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. It also announced other initiatives by the company or other parties related to its business activities in China.

  • Signed a licensing agreement with India’s Sun Pharmaceutical to bring certain novel products into China and add to AstraZeneca’s China oncology portfolio;
  • Signed separate licensing agreements for certain AstraZeneca investigational oncology drugs with three Chinese pharmaceutical companies: Ningbo Tai King Medical Technology, Antengene, and Abbisko;
  • Reported that Wuxi I Campus, the location of potential partners in its newly established healthcare industrial fund, will sign a letter of intent with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission and a memorandum of understanding with resident companies, Novoheart, a stem-cell company and Ninehealth, a healthcare data company; and
  • Established five regional headquarters in China, with Beijing in the North region, Chengdu in the West, Guangzhou in the South and Hangzhou in the East, in addition to Wuxi, which covers the Central region. AstraZeneca will also establish local commercial innovation centers in each headquarter.

Source: AstraZeneca