Pfizer and manufacturing partner Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals will set up a dedicated research centre to develop drugs for the Chinese market.
The US drug giant launched the joint venture (JV) with China-based Hisun last week, explaining that the core focus of the partnership will be the production of generic drugs for the local market.
Most observers focused on the manufacturing side of the deal, which is understandable given that Hisun's main business is active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and Pfizer told Bloomberg that some of the 600 staff the JV will be hiring before the end of the year will work in production.
But the accord will also have a research and development (R&D) element according to Pfizer spokesman Trupti Wagh who told in-Pharmatechnologist.com more about the deal.
“The joint venture with Hisun includes drug research and development in addition to drug manufacturing and commercialization,” she said, adding “the JV will build its own R&D and Regulatory Affairs teams to begin developing high quality branded generics to meet the needs of Chinese patients.
“The registration facilities and production plants of the joint venture will be located in Fuyang, Zhejiang province, while the Management Center and R&D Center will be located in Shanghai and Hangzhou, respectively” Wagh added.
She did not give details of the development projects other than to say they will include “medicines to China to address the country’s unmet healthcare needs."
Wagh also confirmed that Pfizer will be driving the R&D, managing manufacturing quality and promoting products internationally, while Hisun’s contribution will be based on its existing product portfolio, reach in and experience of commercializing drugs in China.
Pfizer decision to form a JV in order to boost its presence in China is in keeping with deals made by Big Pharma peers. Last week for example Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca partnered with Wuxi Apptec, through its biologics unit MedImmune, to develop a drug candidate for the Chinese market.