Partnering with Local Service Providers
Recognizing that China is gradually becoming a powerhouse of science and innovation, pharma is now looking for extensive collaborations with local Chinese organizations including CROs and CMOs to build a real presence in the country. For example, Pfizer recently announced that it intends to establish close partnerships with Asian companies with more focus in China. It is particularly interested in those organizations that possess strong capabilities, knowledge, and expertise in the diseases that not only prevail in Asia but also fall within its therapeutic focuses such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer disease.
Pharma is taking full advantages of China’s benefits. Virtually owning part of a Chinese CRO’s facility and meanwhile relying on their service is another strategy they are currently pursuing in that country. For example, in September 2011, Merck Serono announced its first China R&D facility. What is interesting is that the R&D center is based within the Chinese CRO Pharmaron’s new campus at the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area. In fact, this is the third example in which a major pharma takes part ownership of a local Chinese CRO; the other two are BMS and WuXi PharmaTech and Eli Lilly and ShangPharma.
We believe that this is just the beginning. Following the same pattern, more big pharma companies are expected to gradually expand their China presence in the same way.