As­traZeneca eyes lo­cal prospects

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By DAI TIAN in Cam­bridge, UK daitian@chi­

De­fy­ing spo­radic with­drawals of for­eign com­pa­nies and a per­ceived eco­nomic slow­down, As­traZeneca is adopt­ing a “lean in” strat­egy in China with more lo­cally de­vel­oped drugs and wider out­reach, Pas­cal So­riot, CEO of the An­glo-Swedish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals gi­ant, told China Daily.

Ta­grisso, the com­pany’s lat­est drug for treat­ing lung can­cer with the EFGR-mu­ta­tion, is ex­pected to re­ceive ap­proval in China soon. The drug has been un­der fast-track re­view, be­cause nearly half of Chi­nese lung can­cer pa­tients have this mu­ta­tion.

“By of­fer­ing a treat­ment pack­age and free prod­ucts, we will mar­ket Ta­grisso at the low­est pos­si­ble price,” So­riot said in an in­ter­view at the com­pany’s global re­search cen­ter in the univer­sity city of Cam­bridge, United King­dom.

The com­mit­ment comes af­ter As­traZeneca an­nounced a 50-per­cent price cut in China on Iressa, another lung-can­cer medicine, to step up its out­reach in the coun­try.

“For all new medicines, we are try­ing to reg­is­ter them in China quickly, with lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing and lo­cal de­vel­op­ment. Our goal is to reach as many pa­tients as pos­si­ble,” said So­riot.

Last year, the com­pany bought two man­u­fac­tur­ing plants for small-mol­e­cule and bi­o­logic medicines in Wuxi, Jiangsu prov­ince, since the coun­try of­fers fa­vor­able poli­cies to drugs first dis­cov­ered and mar­keted at home.

In ad­di­tion, As­traZeneca says it has in­jected $50 mil­lion into its Wuxi head­quar­ters to ex­pand de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ties.

The FTSE 100 com­pany re­ported 15 per­cent growth in China in the first nine months, fol­low­ing last year’s 20 per­cent in­crease in sales to $2.5 bil­lion.

“We are ex­pand­ing from coastal cities into in­land cities, reach­ing more pa­tients. Not every com­pany is do­ing that,” said the CEO. “As the econ­omy grows, China is a mar­ket as im­por­tant as theUS is to us.”

The An­glo-Swedish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals gi­ant has set up around 12,000 neb­u­lizer cen­ters through­out China, while cit­ing find­ings that the coun­try has 80 mil­lion peo­ple suf­fer­ing from asthma and chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD).

the amount of cap­i­tal that As­traZeneca has in­jected into its Wuxi head­quar­ters to ex­pand de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ties

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