BI opens second branch of digital lab in China

Boehringer Ingelheim has announced that it will open a second branch of its digital lab, BI X, in July this year in China.

The company said it is moving BI X to a start-up hub in Shanghai in China, with Boehringer Ingelheim investing an initial 3 million euros and creating 20 new jobs for digital talents developing products for Chinese patients.

The BI X headquarters in Ingelheim and the new subsidiary in Shanghai will work in close collaboration.

The concept of BI X is to use digital innovation to accelerate the development of healthcare solutions and to help discovery of breakthrough treatments for humans and animals.

Since its start in 2017, BI X has delivered many projects with a strong impact worldwide. Using iterative processes and continuous development, data scientists, engineers and designers working at BI X test and prove new applications within months.

According to Boehringer,  the Chinese digital landscape shows great differences compared with other parts of the world.

By opening BI X in Shanghai, Boehringer Ingelheim wants to better identify topics and needs relevant to Chinese patients and customers.

BI’s finance director Michael Schmelmer, said: “With this step we are strengthening our footprint in a market that is very strong in digital innovation in healthcare and has a unique technological landscape.

“The close proximity to our Chinese patients and customers will enable us to develop better disruptive products for them and tap into the high digital capabilities in China.”

Earlier this year, BI’s Germany rival Merck KGaA signed a collaboration with China’s massive tech firm Tencent to develop digital healthcare services in the country.

Darmstadt-based Merck’s strategic tie-up with the China-based multinational tech company will initially focus on increasing public disease awareness and providing more accessible health services via digital platforms.

AstraZeneca is another company that is aiming to build its presence in China through digital health-based initiatives, while Novo Nordisk and rival Sanofi see it as a lucrative market for diabetes medicines.


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