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Bayer strikes R&D deal with Chinese university

Published on 20/03/09 at 06:33am


Bayer has furthered its R&D expansion in China with an agreement to form a joint pharmaceutical research centre with Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Last month the German company unveiled plans to construct a 100 million-euro R&D centre in Beijing with the aim of forging collaborations with local academic researchers.

The agreement with Tsinghua is the first of these alliances to come to fruition and will see Bayer partnering a new unit based at the university, to be called the Bayer-Tsinghua (Institute of Biomedicine) Research Center of Innovative Drug Discovery.

"We will immediately start with the faculty recruiting and selection process for our joint research centre," said Professor Yigong Shi, newly-appointed director of the Bayer-Tsinghua Research Centre and a renowned structural biologist.

The institute will focus its efforts on cancer, women's health, diagnostic imaging and cardiology.

Bayer said recently that if the agreement came off it would be the first multinational company in China to enter into a partnership "with such a respected and renowned Chinese university".

China has become the third pillar of Bayer's pharmaceutical R&D organisation, after Germany and the US. The company has joined other pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, in offshoring R&D to Asia, attracted in part by lower costs but also by a wealth of research talent, both home grown and from top universities in the western world.

As well as setting up their own R&D units and forging research partnerships, drugmakers are also tapping Chinese contract research organisations, such as AstraZeneca's December 2008 agreement with Wuxi PharmaTech for high-throughput screening services.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals has also earmarked 22 million euros for a new manufacturing plant in China which will expand production capacity four-fold.

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