Sanofi invests in Chinese clinical R&D capacity

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis has set its sights on developing China as its Asian R&D hub, unveiling plans for a significant expansion of its clinical research unit in Shanghai.

The facility, which was established in 2005, has already been involved in several global registration studies for a range of Sanofi products including Lantus, Plavix, rimonabant, dronedarone and idrabiotaparinux.

The firm said that the planned expansion will allow it to keep pace with the growth of the country’s drug sector and in particular with the increasing demand for local clinical trials by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).

Sanofi’s plans are designed to compliment the new biometrics centre it recently set up in the Chinese capital Beijing. This new facility, which is due to be fully operational by the end of the year, will provide the firm with study design data, management and statistical analysis services.

The firm reiterated that, while the new centre will support global Phase I to IV studies, ramping up the level of local registrational work and broadening the scope of clinical operations in China would be among its top priorities.

Closer academic links

Drug discovery is another important aspect of Sanofi’s Chinese plans, as evidenced by its new deal with the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS), which represents eight of the country’s top scientific institutes.

The move is not Sanofi’s first deal with Chinese researchers. In 2007, it formed a partnership with the Institute of Hematology and Blood Disease in Hospital in Tianjin under which it is conducting a project to develop antibodies to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and other cancers.

In addition to forging closer ties with Chinese academia, the partnership will see Sanofi invest in a scholarship programme designed to support the development of the country’s most promising young scientists in fields including structural chemistry, biology and pharmacology.

SIBS’ vice president, Jia-Rui Wu, commented that: “This collaboration agreement brings pharmaceutical R&D in China to another level, by allowing talented Chinese scientists to become internationally recognised and ensuring that discoveries made in the area of basic research are rapidly converted into applications for treating disease."

Related topics: Regulatory & Safety

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