Sanofi boosts R&D in China with new hub

Sanofi is increasing its R&D presence in China, announcing plans to open a global research hub focused on data analysis in Chengdu.

The French firm said this confirms China as the “third pillar” of its global research operations, joining facilities in France and the US.

Sanofi is investing 66 million euros in the hub, which will support clinical research and development of innovative drugs by focusing on managing global multi-centre clinical trial data and files.

The hub will target diseases that Sanofi already focuses on such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, vaccines, oncology, title=”Read more about cancer research”, immunology and inflammation rare disease, multiple sclerosis and neurology.

The new hub plans to recruit 300 pharma R&D staff by 2020.

Sanofi has been operating in China since 1982 and as of the end of 2017, employed more than 9,500 people there.

It already has an R&D centre in Shanghai focusing on finding drug targets and conducting trials in common diseases such as liver diseases, diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases, in the China and Asia-Pacific region.

Zhang Ji, senior vice president and global head of Sanofi R&D operations, said: “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.”

“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.”

Diabetes drugs have long been a lynchpin of Sanofi’s business, and its major rival in this market, Novo Nordisk has also invested in R&D in China.

Back in 2012, Novo invested an additional $100 million to expand a state-of-the-art research centre in Beijing.

The move allowed Novo to increase the number of science employees in China from 130 to 200, in order to increase its protein research capabilities in the country.

Novo was the first multinational company open a research centre in China, as long ago as 1997.

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